History Of Panera Bread Essay


IndustryFast food
Founded1987; 31 years ago (1987)
Kirkwood, Missouri, US
FounderKen Rosenthal
Ronald M. Shaich
Louis Kane
HeadquartersSunset Hills, Missouri, U.S.

Number of locations

2100 stores (November 2017)

Area served

United States, Canada

Key people

Ronald M. Shaich (CEO, Chairman),
Blaine E. Hurst,
ProductsFast casual/Bakery-café, including several varieties of bread, such as bagel and baguettes, cold sandwiches, hot panini, salads, soups, coffee and teas
RevenueUS$ 2.6 billion (2015)[2]

Net income

US$ 149 million (2015)[2]
Total assetsUS$ 1.4 billion (2015)[2]

Number of employees

47,191 including 23,821 who work at least 25 hours per week (December 2015)
ParentJAB Holding Company
SubsidiariesParadise Bakery & Café

Panera Bread Company is an Americanchain of bakery-café fast casual restaurants in the United States and Canada. Its headquarters are in Sunset Hills, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, and operates as Saint Louis Bread Company in the St. Louis metropolitan area.[3][4] Offerings include soups, salads, pasta, sandwiches, specialty drinks, and bakery items.



St. Louis Bread was founded by Ken Rosenthal in 1987 when he opened the first location in Kirkwood, Missouri. In 1993, Au Bon Pain Co. purchased the St. Louis Bread Company. In 1997, Au Bon Pain changed the company name to Panera, a word that has roots meaning "bread basket" in Latin.[5] At the same time, the St. Louis Bread Company was renovating its 20 bakery-cafés in the St. Louis area.[6][5] In May 1999, to expand Panera Bread into a national restaurant, Au Bon Pain Co. sold its other chains, including Au Bon Pain, which is now owned by Compass Group North America.[7] Panera Bread moved into its new headquarters in Richmond Heights, Missouri in 2000.[8] The company operates or franchises more than 1900 Panera Bread bakery-cafés in 46 states[6] and 20 facilities that deliver fresh dough to the bakery-cafés every day. Panera Bread's CEO is Ron Shaich.[9]

In the St. Louis area where it was founded, Panera Bread still operates under the name St. Louis Bread Company. The St. Louis metropolitan area has over 101 locations.

Growth nationally[edit]

In 2005, Panera ranked 37th on BusinessWeek's list of "Hot Growth Companies", earning $38.6 million with a 42.9% increase in profits.[10][11] In 2007, Panera Bread purchased a majority stake in Paradise Bakery & Café, a Phoenix-based concept with over 70 locations in 10 states (predominantly in the west and southwest). The company purchased the balance of Paradise in June 2009.[6] On January 25, 2008, a class action lawsuit was filed against Panera Bread alleging Panera failed to disclose material adverse facts about the company's financial well-being, business relationships, and prospects.[12] Panera settled the lawsuit and agreed to pay $5.75 million to shareholders while admitting no wrongdoing.[13][14] In 2008 Panera Bread expanded into Canada, beginning with Richmond Hill, Thornhill, Oakville, and Mississauga in the Toronto area.[15][16] In 2009 and 2012, the restaurant review service Zagat named Panera one of the most popular restaurants for eating on the go.[17] Panera was also rated No. 1 for Best Healthy Option,[18] Best Salad,[17] and Best Facilities, among restaurants with fewer than 5,000 locations.[18]

Recent events[edit]

In November 2010, Panera Bread relocated its headquarters to Sunset Hills while vacating its Richmond Heights headquarters and Brentwood offices.[19] In 2011, revenue was US$2.7 billion,[20] operating income was US$259 million,[20] net income was US$160 million,[20] assets were US$1.5 billion,[21] and equity was US$497.3 million.[21] In mid-2014, Panera unveiled "Panera 2.0," a series of integrated technologies to enhance the guest experience.[22] In 2015, annual revenues were $2,681,580,000 up from $2,529,195,000 the year prior. Net income came to $149,325,000 down from $179,293,000 the year prior. Total assets equaled $1,475,318,000.[2]

In January 2017, many Paradise Bakery & Café locations were rebranded as Panera Bread.[citation needed] In 2017, Panera finished a "decadelong overhaul" of its menu and completed reformulating its food to be free of artificial ingredients.[23] In April 2017, Panera announced that it was being acquired by Luxembourg-based JAB Holding Company for $315 per share, or over $7 billion.[24] The companies expected the deal to close in the third quarter of 2017.[25] In July 2017, JAB Holding Co. acquired Panera for $7.16 billion.[23] On November 8, 2017, Panera announced that founder Ron Shaich was stepping down as CEO, with company president Blaine Hurst to take over. Shaich remained chairman.[23] The company also announced it would be acquiring Au Bon Pain, a cafe division which had split off from Panera in 1999 after being created in 1981.[23]

Restaurants and services[edit]

In 2015, there were 1,972 Panera outlets and stores, up from 1,880 the year before. 901 of those stores were company owned, while 1,071 were franchised.[2] Panera opened its 2000th location in Elyria, Ohio on March 23, 2016.[26]

In 2006 and 2007, Panera was the largest provider of free Wi-Fi in the United States.[27][28] Many locations restrict the duration of free Wi-Fi to 30 or 60 minutes during peak hours.[29]

In mid-2014, Panera unveiled "Panera 2.0," a series of integrated technologies to enhance the guest experience for all consumers no matter how they choose to use Panera. Panera 2.0 brings together new capabilities for digital ordering, payment, operations and, ultimately, consumption to create an enhanced guest experience for "to go" and "eat in" customers. A notable feature of Panera 2.0 involves interactive tablet kiosks, which the company calls Fast Lane, where customers may place an order and pay without approaching the counter.[22][30] The kiosks consist of iPads.[31] In addition to the kiosks, customers could also place orders and pay via an app on their own smartphone or tablet.[32]



In a 2008 Health magazine study, Panera Bread was judged North America's healthiest fast casual restaurant.[33]

In June 2014, Panera unveiled its official Food Policy which detailed commitments to clean ingredients, transparency and a positive impact on the food system.[34] This policy outlines the company's values and sets a course for continuous improvement. Panera also made a commitment to remove artificial additives (colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives) on its 'No No List' from the food in its US bakery-cafes by the end of 2016.[35] In January 2017, it announced its US food menu was free of artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives. [36]


Panera stylizes themselves as a peaceful "Bakery-Cafe" and offers a wide array of pastries and baked goods, such as croissants, bagels, cookies, scones, muffins and brownies. These, along with Panera's artisan breads, are typically baked before dawn by an on-staff baker. Some locations also participate in a program that donates their unsold baked goods to local charities after closing hours.[37] Aside from the bakery section, Panera has a regular menu for dine-in or takeout that is broken down into the following categories:[38]

  • Sandwiches
  • Panini
  • Pastas
  • Soups & more
  • Flatbreads
  • Salads
  • Side choices
  • Panera Kids
  • Fruit smoothies
  • Frozen drinks
  • Iced drinks
  • Coffee, tea, and lemonade
  • Espresso drinks
  • Lattes/ Hot Chocolate

Panera also has a selection of seasonal offerings, such as the Strawberry Poppy Seed Chicken salad offered during the summer season and the Roasted Turkey Cranberry Flatbread in the winter.[citation needed]

Panera announced the addition of more plant-based proteins, such as edamame and organic quinoa, to its menu on November 5, 2015. Being one of the first fast-casual restaurants to discuss plant-based proteins caused Fortune reporter Beth Kowitt to speculate that "other restaurants will likely follow the soup-and-sandwich chain's lead."[39]

Peanut butter lawsuits[edit]

In 2016, a lawsuit was filed after an employee at a Natick, Massachusetts store knowingly put peanut butter on a sandwich, despite being informed that the person receiving the sandwich was allergic to peanuts. It was alleged that the restaurant chain acted negligently, and charged those involved with intentional or reckless infliction of emotional distress as well as assault and battery,[40] which resulted in the recipient of the sandwich being hospitalized briefly.[41] Less than one month after the incident involved in this case, another restaurant reportedly had a nearly identical incident with another person who had a severe allergy to peanuts.[40]

Social responsibility[edit]

In 2009, the company's nonprofit foundation created Panera Cares, a "Pay what you can" restaurant in its home market of St. Louis. CEO Ron Shaich based the idea on an NBC profile of the SAME Cafe in Denver, Colorado.[42][43] It has since expanded the concept to Dearborn, Michigan; Portland, Oregon; Chicago; and Boston.[44][45][46] Each site serves approximately 3,500 people every week.[47][48][49] The Panera Cares in Chicago shut down at the end of January 2015.[50] The Panera Cares in Portland, Oregon shut down at the end of June 2016, leaving just three locations.[51]

On November 5, 2015, Panera announced that it will use cage-free eggs in all of its stores by 2020.[52] At the time of the announcement, the company said it was 21% cage-free in the roughly 70 million eggs it used in 2015.[53] In December 2016, it published its third animal welfare progress report, announcing new efforts to improve broiler chicken welfare.[54]


The Day-End Dough-Nation program provides unsold bread and baked goods to local area hunger relief agencies and charities. In 2014, Panera Bread bakery-cafes donated a retail value around $100 million worth of unsold bread and baked goods to local organizations in need. Panera also supports events held by nonprofit organizations serving those in need by donating a certificate or fresh bakery products.

Employment lawsuits[edit]

In 2003, a lawsuit was filed by a former employee who claimed he was fired after allegedly refusing to carry out discriminatory policies set forth by his superiors.[55] In 2009 and 2011, class action lawsuits were filed by former workers alleging that the company violated the California Labor Code, failed to pay overtime, failed to provide meal and rest periods, failed to pay employees upon termination, and violated California's Unfair Competition Law. Panera set aside $5 million for the payment of claims and denied any wrongdoing.[56]

In 2011, a former employee filed a racial discrimination lawsuit alleging that he was eventually fired after repeatedly having a black man work the cash register instead of putting him in a less visible location and having "pretty young girls" be the cashiers, as requested by supervisors.[57] The plaintiff also said he was fired after requesting another month off after returning from three months of medical leave.[57] Panera said it "does not discriminate based on national origin, race or sex," and that the plaintiff "was terminated because he had used all of his medical leave and was unable to return to work."[57] The plaintiff worked in a store owned by franchisee Sam Covelli,[58] who also owns the stores that were involved in the 2003 racial discrimination lawsuit.[59][60] Covelli Enterprises is the single largest franchisee of Panera Bread with nearly 200 stores in northeast Ohio, western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Florida.[61]

Key people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^"Management Bios". Panera Bread. Retrieved 2015-03-02. 
  2. ^ abcdePanera Annual Report - 2015(PDF), 2015, p. 18, retrieved April 7, 2017 
  3. ^Corrigan, Don (September 17, 2010). "Panera Headquarters To Draw 375 Workers To Area". South County Times. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16 – via St. Louis County Economic Council. 
  4. ^"Panera tests $16.99 lobster sandwich". Dayton Business Journal. August 18, 2009. Retrieved August 19, 2009. 
  5. ^ abKowitt, Beth (July 18, 2012). "A founder's bold gamble on Panera". CNN. Archived from the original on 2012-07-30. 
  6. ^ abc"Our History". Panera Bread. Archived from the original on February 20, 2012. Retrieved 2009-01-21. 
  7. ^"Au Bon Pain: bakery-cafe weighs in on diet fads, offers more healthful fare to concerned customers". Nation's Restaurant News. January 31, 2005. Archived from the original on April 25, 2005 – via FindArticles. 
  8. ^Brown, Lisa (January 24, 2010). "Panera Bread finalizing headquarters search". St. Louis Business Journal. Retrieved 2014-07-30. 
  9. ^"Panera Bread Announces Bill Moreton, Ron Shaich to Become Co-CEOs" (Press release). Yahoo! Finance. March 15, 2012. Archived from the original on January 18, 2017. 
  10. ^"St. Louis Firms Make BusinessWeek's Hot Growth List". St. Louis Commerce Magazine. September 1, 2005. Archived from the original on January 15, 2013 – via FindArticles. 
  11. ^"Giving Quick Food A Run For Its Money". Bloomberg BusinessWeek. April 17, 2006. Archived from the original on May 13, 2006. 
  12. ^"Panera faces class-action lawsuit". St. Louis Business Journal. American City Business Journals. February 27, 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-04. 
  13. ^Brown, Lisa (February 22, 2011). "Panera to pay $5.75 million to settle lawsuit". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2011-12-12. 
  14. ^Fenske, Sarah (February 24, 2011). "Panera Bread Settles Class Action Suit Alleging Stock Fraud". River Front Times. Retrieved 5 April 2017. 
  15. ^Walkup, Carylyn (June 19, 2006). "Panera Bread to launch dinner menu, push toward 1,000 units". Nation's Restaurant News. Archived from the original on May 11, 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-03 – via FindArticles. 
  16. ^Brown, Lisa R (October 26, 2007). "Panera Bread headquarters in play". St. Louis Business Journal. Retrieved 2008-03-03. 
  17. ^ ab"The 2009 Zagat Survey". Zagat Survey. 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-07-07. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  18. ^ ab"2009 Awards & Recognition". Panera Bread. Archived from the original on July 14, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  19. ^Volkmann, Kelsey (November 19, 2010). "Panera opens new headquarters in Sunset Hills". St. Louis Business Journal. Retrieved 2014-07-30.  
  20. ^ abcPanera Bread Company (PNRA) annual SEC income statement filing via Wikinvest
  21. ^ abPanera Bread Company (PNRA) annual SEC balance sheet filing via Wikinvest
  22. ^ abHorovitz, Bruce (April 2016). "Kiosks Keep Their Cool: Even in a smartphone era, touch-screen kiosks give brands a fun, efficient ordering innovation". QSR Magazine. 
  23. ^ abcdJargon, Julie (November 8, 2017). "Panera Bread Founder Ron Shaich to Step Down as CEO". The Wall Street Journal. New York City, New York, United States. Retrieved November 12, 2017. 
  24. ^"JAB snaps up Panera Bread for more than $7 billion". Boston.com. April 5, 2017. 
  25. ^Whipp, Lindsay (April 7, 2017). "Panera founder Ron Shaich takes long-term view with JAB deal". Financial Times. 
  26. ^Bamforth, Emily (March 22, 2016). "Panera Bread's 2,000th store opening in Elyria (photo)". Cleveland Plain Dealer. 
  27. ^Zumpano, Anthony (October 23, 2006). "Panera Bread: flour power". Brandchannel. Archived from the original on October 17, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  28. ^Nowlin, Terrence (November 1, 2006). "Plugging into wireless: wireless Internet is making its way into more parks nationwide". Parks & Recreation. National Recreation and Park Association. Retrieved 2007-11-26. [dead link]
  29. ^Anderson, Nate (July 10, 2006). "Free WiFi spawns café backlash". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  30. ^"Investor Relations 2.0 Video". Panera Bread. Retrieved 2016-04-05. 
  31. ^Troxell, Nicole (February 6, 2015). "Is Panera 2.0 starting to pay off?". Fast Casual. 
  32. ^Wong, Venessa (May 2, 2014). "More Kiosks, Fewer Cashiers Coming Soon to Panera". Bloomberg News. 
  33. ^Minkin, Tracy & Reaud, Brittani (February 12, 2009). "America's Healthiest". Health Magazine. Retrieved 2009-05-26. 
  34. ^"Panera Bread's Food Policy Statement"(PDF). Panera Bread. June 3, 2014. Retrieved April 5, 2016. 
  35. ^"The No No List"(PDF). Panera Bread. March 11, 2016. Retrieved April 5, 2016. 
  36. ^"Panera Says Its Food Menu Is Now 100% 'Clean Eating'". Fortune. Retrieved 2017-12-06. 
  37. ^"Baked Before Sunrise, Donated After Sunset". Live58. Archived from the original on January 8, 2016. Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  38. ^"Panera Bread". Panera Bread. Retrieved 2015-09-16. 
  39. ^Kowitt, Beth (November 5, 2015). "Panera Wants You to Eat More Plants". Fortune Magazine. Retrieved 6 November 2015. 
  40. ^ abSwidey, Neil (6 June 2016). "Family of allergic child sues Panera for putting peanut butter in grilled cheese sandwich". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 23 July 2016. 
  41. ^Bowerman, Mary (6 June 2016). "Family sues Panera over peanut butter in allergic daughter's sandwich". USA Today. Retrieved 23 July 2016. 
  42. ^"Panera Cares". MSNBC. June 7, 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-09-05. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  43. ^"Panera: Pay what you can afford". St. Louis Business Journal. May 18, 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-04. 
  44. ^"Panera Bread Foundation Celebrates One Year Anniversary of Panera Cares Launch". MSNBC. May 16, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-07. [dead link]
  45. ^Boodhoo, Niala (June 22, 2012). "Panera café in Lakeview allows patrons to pay what they want". WBEZ. Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  46. ^Abelson, Jenn (December 24, 2012). "Panera Cares café in Boston let you pay full price, more than that, or less if you can't afford the food". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  47. ^Korn, Peter (September 22, 2011). "A Wiser Panera Still Tries to Care". Portland Tribune. Archived from the original on 2011-12-01. 
  48. ^Muir, David (November 25, 2011). "Panera Cares, Other Eateries Tackle Hunger With 'Pay-What-You-Can' Plan". ABC News. 
  49. ^Fitzgerald, Michael (January 30, 2011). "Is Ron Shaich Out to Lunch?". The Boston Globe. 
  50. ^Parker, Alex (January 31, 2015). "'Pay What You Can' Panera in Lakeview Closes for Good". DNAinfo Chicago. Archived from the original on June 11, 2016. 
  51. ^"PaneraCares café locations". 
  52. ^Ross, Ashley (November 5, 2015). "Panera to Use All Cage-Free Eggs by 2020". Time magazine. Retrieved 6 November 2015. 
  53. ^Scipioni, Jade (November 5, 2015). "Panera Bread Goes Plant Based". Fox Business Network. Retrieved 6 November 2015. 
  54. ^Company, Panera Bread. "Panera Bread® Broadens Leadership on Animal Welfare Issues". GlobeNewswire News Room. Retrieved 2017-11-25. 
  55. ^Check, Jonathan (December 3, 2003). "Panera faces lawsuit by former employee". The Pitt News. Retrieved 2011-12-12. 
  56. ^Holter, Mike (November 30, 2011). "Panera Bread Sets Aside $5M for Employee Class Action Lawsuit Settlement". Legafi. Archived from the original on 2012-04-26. Retrieved 2011-12-12. 
  57. ^ abcMirando, Kimberly (November 21, 2011). "Panera Bread Racial Discrimination Lawsuit". Legafi. Archived from the original on 2012-05-02. Retrieved 2011-12-12. 
  58. ^"Fired Panera Bread Manager: They Wanted 'Pretty Young Girls'". WTAE-TV. November 3, 2011. Archived from the original on September 19, 2012. Retrieved 2011-12-12. 
  59. ^"Our locations". Covelli Enterprises. Retrieved 2011-12-12. 

Panera Bread Company Essay

1348 Words6 Pages

“A loaf of bread in every arm” is the mission statement of Panera Bread Company (Vincelette & Fogarty, 2010, p.1). Panera started as a small bakery under the name Au Bon Pain and grew to one of the largest fast food service companies in the U.S. In 2008 they had the 5th overall rating in the restaurant industry. “Panera Bread is widely recognized for driving the nationwide trend for specialty breads” (Panera Bread, 2011).
Company Timeline
Over $3 million in debt and preparing to file for bankruptcy Kane partnered with Ronald Shaich. Shaich saw potential in Kane’s business and the first strategic move was to offer extended menu choices to boost morning sales. From 1981-1984 the company was expanding their business, they were working to…show more content…

The sale of Au Bon Pain lead to their corporate name change to Panera Bread Company. In the early 2000’s the company grew through franchise agreements, acquisitions and expansion. In 2010 Shaich stepped down from his roll of CEO to the company’s executive chairman to focus on concept and strategy. Shaich had what he referred to as concept essence the blueprint of what he wanted to achieve. “Concept essence included a focus on artisan bread, quality products and a warm, and friendly, and comfortable environment” (Vincelette & Fogarty, 2010, p4.).
Panera has three business segments: Company-owned bakery-café, franchise operations and fresh dough operations. The company’s growth strategy was “to grow their store profits, to increase transactions and gross profits per transaction, use capital wisely and put into place drivers for concept differentiations and competitive advantage” (Vincelette & Fogarty, 2010, p7.). In 2009 while everyone else was experiencing the hard economic times Panera Bread was sticking to their strategic plan. Panera did not lay off employees, or worry about closing underperforming stores. Instead, they continued to add menu items and even increased prices on existing items. This strategy worked for them and they were able to take advantage of clientele that came from fine dining. The company has

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