Pret A Manger aims to shake up its image and promote its store expansion plans with a PR push.

The sandwich and coffee chain has hired Lewis PR to look after consumer, corporate and social media PR globally, which will cover the opening of new outlets in the UK and its launch in France, as well as its 25th birthday celebrations this year.

Paul Charles, chief operating officer at Lewis PR, said: “We’ll make sure its Twitter and Facebook feeds are innovative and informative.”

He added: “There are misconceptions that Pret is owned by McDonald’s and that its food isn’t made fresh, which we will address. We will also make sure that people know it is a responsible retailer who donates its unsold food to homeless charities.”

McDonald’s bought a third of the business in 2001, but sold its stake in 2008. The sandwich chain is now part-owned by private equity firm Bridgepoint, with a turnover of £279m and 221 shops. Pret A Manger is ninth in the BB75 2011 league table.