Pret has faced a backlash on social media after a customer spotted a female employee wearing a badge saying: "I am new, kiss me!"
Freelance writer Bella Mackie shared a picture of the badge on Twitter, writing: "Come on Pret, it's kind of gross to make new female employees wear this badge."
Others were quick to agree with Mackie, with commenters describing the badge as "shocking" and "totally unacceptable".
Former deputy Labour leader Harrier Harman also chimed in. "Oh no! This cannot be for real! If it is, @Pret, stop it immediately! I love Pret but hate this!" she wrote.
Following the criticism, Pret responded by saying that it was investigating the badge as a matter of urgency. But another customer later tweeted that he had noticed a different badge with unsuitable messaging in another branch.
"Interestingly, I saw today both that one alongside a black employee wearing one with 'hot chocolate' and thought 'am I being bad, or are they really doing this?'. If this is company policy, or even just encouraged, it's quite appalling," he said.
Pret commented that it doesn't make employees wear these badges – that they can order and personalise their own – but one Twitter user replied: "It's their workplace though, not their home. There are rules about uniform etc; even purely from a business POV that badge is asking for trouble."
Pret has now confirmed that these badges will no longer be available for staff to order.
"We do not ask our employees to wear badges with this message," a spokesperson told Cosmopolitan UK. "Our teams can personalise their own name badges; on this occasion, the badge has been used inappropriately.
"We have already taken action and will be ensuring that only names are used on badges going forward."
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