U.K.-based Pret A Manger is garnering attention in New York and other U.S. cities with a service-focused model that aims to serve each customer within 60 seconds and trains workers to engage in genuinely friendly interactions with guests. The chain, launched in 1986 by a couple of friends in search of a decent sandwich, experienced growing pains the first time it tried to expand here and says it has learned lessons that are leading to success this time around.

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