Arnaud Kaziewicz is stepping down as executive chef of EAT following the food-to-go chain’s recent takeover by rival Pret A Manger.
Mr Kaziewicz, who was bought in at the start of last year to revamp EAT’s menu proposition, is in talks with several leading brands about future opportunities but as yet has not made any decision on where he will end up. His final day with EAT is tomorrow.
He told FEJ that he is proud of what his team had achieved since he joined the business to improve the food offer and build EAT’s food reputation.
“Our highlights include 14 consecutive months of like-for-like sales growth, achieving +3.3% this year,” he said. “Our franchise income grew by nearly 50% through strengthening existing sites in Liverpool Street station and Madrid Airport and expanding in the UK at Bristol Airport and internationally in Gare Du Nord, Malaga, Barcelona and Alicante.
“We further consolidated our shop portfolio and rolled out our SMART EAT concepts with our new look and improved operational layout. And we even took to the skies and successfully trialled our food on board EasyJet flights in December.”
Asked what he was most proud of, he said: “As a dedicated baker I have a slight obsession with baguettes and I wanted to bring the best baguettes to the high street. One of our biggest launches has been our range of cold sandwiches and I am extremely proud of the success we have had with the white and the malted wheat baguettes.
“We have elevated the quality of our ingredients to a different level and trained our store teams to be more consistent in making them. We have seen phenomenal success thanks to the hard work and commitment of our dedicated teams across the business.”
Pret announced in May that it had agreed a deal to acquire EAT and its 100 stores. It eventually plans to convert as many EAT stores as possible into Veggie Prets.
Mr Kaziewicz said that Pret operates its business differently to EAT and has a large team in place to deliver the integration. “There is no question that Pret is very good at what they do and in particular I find Veggie Pret impressive,” he commented.
Although he has not finalised his next role yet, he confirmed that he is talking with some “really exciting” UK-based brands and intends to stay in London.
In the meantime, he plans to make the most of the summer by taking his young family on a trip of a lifetime touring France. “We will visit food markets, restaurants and explore culinary France so I’ll be energised and ready for my next big challenge!”