• Thursday, June 20, 2024


Pret A Manger forms JV with Shane Thakrar’s Dallas International

The Thakrar family established Dallas Holdings in 2018

By: Pramod Thomas

BRITISH restaurant chain Pret A Manger has struck a deal with its existing franchisee, Dallas International, owned by a British Asian entrepreneur, as it seeks to expand its presence in the US.

Following the latest arrangement, Dallas will have operational control of around 50 Pret shops in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC and have exclusive rights to open new shops in these markets.

Dallas is owned by Shane Thakrar, and the company has more than four decades of experience in developing and running food and beverage shops in the US and Europe.

The new company formed following the partnership will be called Empire JointStar Inc.

Pret A Manger CEO, Pano Christou, said the deal builds on “our already successful partnership with Dallas as we jointly pursue our next phase of growth”.

He added, “Pret is working in partnership with our franchisees to unlock significant growth in new markets. This approach has driven significant growth in Europe and Asia and enabled Pret to track ahead of its mid-term global growth target to double the size of the business by 2026.

“We look forward to replicating these results in the US.”

Thakrar, Dallas CEO and president, said, “This new company further demonstrates our confidence in the brand, concept, and growth potential. We look forward to taking operational control of these prime locations and territories and further investing in new shop formats, operational excellence, and team members.

“Each market included in the deal has tremendous growth potential that will build on our already strong footprint in the UK and new operations in California, all underpinned by our strong partner, team and customer ethos.”

Under the partnership, Pret in the US will increase its footprint through openings, store renovations and by introducing formats like drive-thrus, the company said in a statement.

Dallas has eight shops in the UK; and a further six are scheduled to open in early 2024, one in New York’s Hudson Yards. There are plans to open four shops in California in the first half of 2024.

According to reports, Pret is planning to expand its US footprint more than five-fold to 300 stores by 2029.

The Thakrar family established Dallas Holdings in 2018, with the aim of acquiring and opening outlets in the coffee and quick service restaurant (QSR) sectors.

They sold their petrol forecourt business, HKS retail, at a premium five years ago.

Founded by Hasmukh, Kamlesh and Sailesh Thakrar in 1984, the family grew HKS Retail (named after the first letters of the siblings) to 70 petrol forecourts operating in the Midlands and beyond.

Since the sale, the brothers have taken a step back, allowing the second generation of the family to invest and develop new areas of business.

Kamlesh and Sailesh Thakrar are on the board of Dallas Holdings as non-executive strategic advisors. Sailesh’s son, Shane Thakrar, is the current CEO of the company and Kamlesh’s son Krishna Thakrar is the COO.

Shane’s grandfather Vallabhdas Thobandas Thakrar migrated to UK in 1974 from India.

The brothers began the business with a single service station in Leicestershire. At its peak, HKS employed 750 people; it was sold to Prax Group, an independent petrol trading, storage, distribution and retail business.

Shane is associated with three companies – Dallas Holding, formed after the sale; Silver Clock Holdings, created in December 2019, and Signature Midlands Hotels, which came into being in January 2020.

The family set up the Thakrar Foundation in 2011 that partners with international charities to further research into health, with a particular focus on cures for heart disease.

The Thakrar family was ranked 95th at the Asian Rich List 2023 with an estimated value of £125 million.

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