Panera Bread

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Panera Bread
Industry Fast Food Restaurants
Founded Kirkwood, Missouri (1981)
Founder Louis Kane
Ken Rosenthal
Ronald M. Shaich
Headquarters Sunset Hills, Missouri, United States
Number of locations
1,800 (April 2014)
Key people
Ronald M. Shaich,
Chairman & Co-CEO
William W. Moreton,
President & Co-CEO[1]
Products Fast casual/Bakery-café, including several varieties of bread, such as bagels and muffins, cold sandwiches, hot panini, salads, soups, coffee and teas
Revenue Increase US$1.82 billion (FY 2011)[2]
Increase US$220.3 million (FY 2011)[2]
Increase US$136.0 million (FY 2011)[2]
Total assets Increase US$1027 million (FY 2011)[3]
Total equity Increase US$655.1 million (FY 2011)[3]
Number of employees
40,100, including 22,700 who work at least 25 hours a week (December 2013)

Panera Bread is a chain 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.[4][5] Offerings include soups, salads, pasta, sandwiches, and bakery items.

Corporate history[edit]

Panera Bread in Chicago's South Loop

The story of St. Louis Bread was founded in 1987 when the first location was opened in Kirkwood, Missouri. Panera bread is the newer name for St. Louis Bread Company outside of the St. Louis area. In 1993, Au Bon Pain Co. purchased the St. Louis Bread Company, which was founded by Ken Rosenthal in 1987. At the same time, the St. Louis Bread Company was renovating its 20 bakery-cafés in the St. Louis area.[6][7]

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.[8] Panera Bread moved into its new headquarters in Richmond Heights, Missouri in 2000.[9] The company operates or franchises 1,800 Panera Bread bakery-cafés in 40 states[6] and 20 facilities that deliver fresh dough to the bakery-cafés every day. Panera Bread's co-CEOs are William Moreton and Ron Shaich.[10]

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.

In 2005, Panera ranked 37th on BusinessWeek's list of "Hot Growth Companies", earning $38.6 million with a 42.9% increase in profits.[11][12]

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.[13]

In 2008, Panera Bread expanded into Canada, beginning with Richmond Hill, Thornhill, Oakville, and Mississauga in the Toronto area.[14][15]

In a 2008 Health magazine study, Panera Bread was judged North America's healthiest fast casual restaurant.[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 #1 for Best Healthy Option,[18] Best Salad,[17] and Best Facilities, among restaurants with fewer than 5,000 locations.[18]

In November 2010 Panera Bread relocated its headquarters to Sunset Hills while vacating its Richmond Heights headquarters and Brentwood offices.[19]


Panera Bread was the second in its industry to post calorie information voluntarily at all company-owned cafes.[20] Nutritional information is available on Panera Bread’s website for customers to view. The nutrition information provided is based on Panera Bread’s standardized recipes, representative values provided by suppliers, analysis using industry standard software, published resources, and/or testing conducted in accredited laboratories, and are expressed in values based on federal rounding and other applicable regulations.[21]

Panera’s website also includes a nutrition calculator. Customers can browse the menu selection and add items to meals to see per-ingredient nutrition information. The percent daily values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.[22]

After the recent discovery that some food chains use a chemical called azodicarbonamide in their bread, Panera Bread has made the promise to remove all artificial additives from their food by 2016. [23]

Menu breakdown[edit]

Panera's Bakery-Cafe section includes a wide array of pastries, such as croissants, bagels, cookies, brownies, etc. They also have a menu for this section of the restaurant that promotes items such as hot breakfast sandwiches, artisan breads, and a Panera kids section. Aside from the bakery section, they have a regular menu that is broken down into the following categories:

  • Sandwiches
  • Paninis
  • Pastas
  • Soups & More
  • Flatbreads
  • Salads
  • Side Choices
  • Panera Kids
  • Fruit Smoothies
  • Frozen Drinks
  • Iced Drinks
  • Coffee, Tea, and Lemonade
  • Espresso Drinks

They also have a hidden menu which is only advertised on social media. This includes a power breakfast egg white bowl with roasted turkey, power breakfast egg bowl with steak, power Mediterranean chicken salad, power Mediterranean roasted turkey salad, power chicken hummus bowl, and a power steak lettuce wrap. These items are not on the menu but if you ask for them specifically they will make them for you.

These sections include many options that are suitable for lunch, dinner, or often even breakfast. Their soup schedule changes daily, sometimes based on the season. One popular menu offering is the "You Pick 2" option, where customers may choose from two different menu options, and receive half of a portion of each. This applies to their sandwiches, salads, or soups, of which customers can mix and match. All menu options come with a choice of side dish, which are listed on the menu under the heading "Side Choices". This bakery-cafe option is beginning work on becoming a hot spot for health needs. They introduce new products to add to their ever growing menu during each new "celebration" as they like to call it. These "celebrations occur with the seasons and in between too. During these times, new options for customers are included. It is important to note that Panera has numerous test districts throughout the country to try out these new options. Some of the options in the test stores will not be accessible in all stores.

In October 2014, the company sparked complaints on social media by replacing its trademark baguettes with more conventional dinner rolls. [24]

Community outreach[edit]

Panera Bread created Operation Dough-Nation in 1992 to formalize its commitments to community involvement. The program now has four activities: Community Breadbox cash collection boxes, the Day-End Dough-Nation program, Panera/SCRIP Card fundraising and participation in community events.

The Day-End Dough-Nation program provides unsold bread and baked goods to local area hunger relief agencies and charities. In 2010, Panera Bread bakery-cafes donated a retail value of approximately $100 million worth of unsold bread and baked good to local organizations in need.[25]


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.[26]

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.[27] Panera settled the lawsuit and agreed to pay $5.75 million to shareholders while admitting no wrongdoing.[28]

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. Panera denied any wrongdoing.[29]

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.[30] The plaintiff also said he was fired after requesting another month off after returning from three months of medical leave.[30] 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."[30] The plaintiff worked in a store owned by franchisee Sam Covelli,[31] who also owns the stores that were involved in the 2003 racial discrimination lawsuit.[32][33] Covelli Enterprises is the single largest franchisee of Panera bread with nearly 200 stores in Northeast Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Florida.[34]

Panera Cares[edit]

In 2009, the company's non-profit foundation created Panera Cares, a non-profit "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.[35][36] It has since expanded the concept to Dearborn, Michigan; Portland, Oregon; Chicago; and Boston.[37][38][39] Each site serves approximately 3,500 people every week.[40][41][42] The Panera Cares in Chicago shut down at the end of January, 2015.[43]

Internet access[edit]

In 2006 and 2007, Panera was the largest provider of free Wi-Fi in the United States.[44][45] Many locations restrict the duration of free Wi-Fi to 30 or 60 minutes during peak hours.[46]


  1. ^ "Management Bios". Retrieved March 2, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Panera Bread Company (PNRA) annual SEC income statement filing via Wikinvest
  3. ^ a b Panera Bread Company (PNRA) annual SEC balance sheet filing via Wikinvest
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Panera tests $16.99 lobster sandwich." Dayton Business Journal. Tuesday August 18, 2009. Retrieved on August 19, 2009.
  6. ^ a b "Our History". Panera Bread. Retrieved 2009-01-21. 
  7. ^ "A founder's bold gamble on Panera". CNN Money, July 18, 2012.
  8. ^ Au Bon Pain: bakery-cafe weighs in on diet fads, offers more healthful fare to concerned customers[dead link] Nation's Restaurant News, January 31, 2005.
  9. ^ Brown, Lisa (24 January 2010). "Panera Bread finalizing headquarters search". St. Louis Business Journal. Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  10. ^ Panera Company Overview Panera Bread Announces Bill Moreton, Ron Shaich to Become Co-CEOs
  11. ^ "St. Louis Firms Make BusinessWeek's Hot Growth List". St. Louis Commerce Magazine. 2005-09-01. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Giving Quick Food A Run For Its Money". Businessweek. 2006-04-17. 
  13. ^ "Panera Bread Company Corporate History Page". 2010-03-30. Retrieved 2010-06-04. 
  14. ^ Walkup, Carylyn (2006-06-19). "Panera Bread to launch dinner menu, push toward 1,000 units". Nation's Restaurant News. Retrieved 2008-03-03. [dead link]
  15. ^ Brown, Lisa R (2007-10-26). "Panera Bread headquarters in play". St. Louis Business Journal. Retrieved 2008-03-03. 
  16. ^ Minkin, Tracy; Brittani Reaud (February 12, 2009). "America's Healthiest". Health Magazine. Retrieved 2009-05-26. 
  17. ^ a b "The 2009 Zagat Survey". Zagat Survey. 2009. Retrieved 7 July 2009. 
  18. ^ a b "2009 Awards & Recognition". Panera Bread. Retrieved 7 July 2009. 
  19. ^ Volkmann, Kelsey (19 November 2010). "Panera opens new headquarters in Sunset Hills". St. Louis Business Journal. Retrieved 30 July 2014. Panera Bread Co. plans to celebrate the opening of its new headquarters Friday in Sunset Hills and the relocation of 365 corporate employees there. 
  20. ^ "Panera Bread to post calories on menus at company stores". USA Today. March 10, 2012. Retrieved August 24, 2012. 
  21. ^ "About Panera Bread Nutrition". Retrieved August 24, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Panera Bread – Nutrition Calculator". Retrieved August 24, 2012. 
  23. ^
  24. ^ [1]
  25. ^ Panera Bread In the Community
  26. ^ "Panera faces lawsuit by former employee". The Pitt News. 2003-12-03. Retrieved 2011-12-12. 
  27. ^ "Panera faces class-action lawsuit". St. Louis Business Journal (American City Business Journals). February 27, 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-04. 
  28. ^ "Panera to pay $5.75 million to settle lawsuit". 2011-02-22. Retrieved 2011-12-12. 
  29. ^ "Panera Bread Sets Aside $5M for Employee Class Action Lawsuit Settlement". LEGAFI. 2011-11-30. Retrieved 2011-12-12. 
  30. ^ a b c "Panera Bread Racial Discrimination Lawsuit". LEGAFI. 2011-11-21. Retrieved 2011-12-12. 
  31. ^ "Fired Panera Bread Manager: They Wanted 'Pretty Young Girls'". 2011-11-03. Retrieved 2011-12-12. 
  32. ^ "Our locations". Retrieved 2011-12-12. 
  33. ^ "Panera Bread’s racist, sexist practices warrant boycott". 2011-12-05. Retrieved 2011-12-12. 
  34. ^ "About Us". Retrieved September 23, 2013. 
  35. ^ "Panera Cares". 7 June 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2011. 
  36. ^ "Panera: Pay what you can afford – St. Louis Business Journal". 2010-05-18. Retrieved 2010-06-04. 
  37. ^ "Panera Bread Foundation Celebrates One Year Anniversary of Panera Cares Launch". 2011-5-16. Retrieved 7 June 2011. 
  38. ^ "Panera cafe in Lakeview allows patrons to pay what they want". 2012-6-22. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  39. ^ Abelson, Jenn (December 24, 2012). "Panera Cares cafe in Boston let you pay full price, more than that, or less if you can’t afford the food". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  40. ^ A Wiser Panera Still Tries to Care
  41. ^ Panera Cares, Other Eateries Tackle Hunger With 'Pay-What-You-Can' Plan
  42. ^ Is Ron Shaich Out to Lunch?
  43. ^ [2]
  44. ^ Zumpano, Anthony (2006-10-23). "Panera Bread: flour power". features (brandchannel). Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  45. ^ Nowlin, Terrence (2006-11-01). "Plugging into wireless: wireless Internet is making its way into more parks nationwide". Parks & Recreation (National Recreation and Park Association). Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  46. ^ Anderson, Nate (July 10, 2006). "Free WiFi spawns cafe backlash". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 

External links[edit]