Panera Bread Case Study

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Panera Bread Company operates the signature restaurant chain Panera Bread, selling hand-crafted breads, sandwiches, salads, and drinks. Panera Bread bakery-cafes are often associated with the concept of “fast casual”, a mixture between fast food and more upscale casual dining. Customers still pay for their food at the counter, like a traditional fast food restaurant, but Panera arranges tables and chairs to be conducive to group meetings.
Most Panera Bread restaurants are located in suburban strip malls and regional malls. Traditionally, companies like Panera have suffered in recessions, which decrease the frequency with which consumers eat out at restaurants. However, Panera’s strategy during the recession has been “to stay consistent and
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Fast food restaurants chains are often criticized for offering unhealthy food, but the higher nutritional value found in Panera Bread’s products makes it less prone to nutrition campaigns that have hurt chains such as McDonald’s. Indeed, the health care bill enacted in 2010 includes provisions that will require chain restaurants to publish the caloric content of their menu items, and Panera has gotten ahead of the crowd by becoming the first major restaurant chain to voluntarily publish its food items’ calorie counts; Panera’s lower-calorie fare may help it grab market share from fast food chains among health-conscious consumers. Meanwhile, dine in restaurants are very susceptible to drops in consumer spending. Therefore, Panera’s cheaper items make it an attractive alternative to traditional eateries. However, this does not mean that Panera is immune to these challenges. The company must achieve a balance between quality food and competitive pricing.
Panera Bread must still compete with traditional fast food chains, as well as specialty food cafes, casual dine in restaurants, street vendors, pizza parlors, bakeries, and national, regional and locally-owned restaurants. Many of the company’s competitors have greater financial resources, which translate into greater advertising
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The company has become known as the nation’s bread expert and offers a variety of artisan and other specialty breads, along with bagels, pastries, and baked goods. Panera Bread’s restaurants are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and also offer hand-tossed salads, signature sandwiches, and hearty soups served in edible sourdough bread bowls, along with hot and cold coffee drinks and other beverages. The company also provides catering services through its Via Panera catering business. Its restaurants provide an inviting neighborly atmosphere, adding to their appeal.
The future growth of Panera Bread will be based upon company bakery-cafe development as well as the continued sale of franchise area development agreements.
Panera Bread does not sell single-unit franchises, so it is not possible to open just one bakery-cafe. Rather, we have chosen to develop by selling market areas which require the franchise developer to open a number of units, typically 15 bakery-cafes in a period of 6 years.
Panera Bread franchises must be well-capitalized to open great bakery-cafes and meet this aggressive development schedule. Additionally, they must have a proven track record as excellent multi-unit restaurant operators to operate great Panera Bread

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