Operations

Panera plots a move into noncommercial

Panera Bread Co. announced today that it intends to buy the Au Bon Pain brand as a way of opening more bakery-cafes in colleges, healthcare facilities, office buildings, travel centers and malls.

Au Bon Pain, which was Panera’s sole business under an earlier incarnation of the company, consists of 304 bakery-cafes. Several units are located in noncommercial venues.

Panera owns or holds the franchise rights to about 2,050 restaurants, few of which are located outside of strip malls.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Immediately after the deal was announced, Panera disclosed that longtime CEO Ron Shaich, one of the most celebrated leaders in foodservice, would step down as of Jan. 1. Shaich had at one time been a co-CEO of Au Bon Pain.

Panera was acquired in July by JAB Holdings, which is also the parent company of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Caribou Coffee, Einstein Bros., Peet’s Coffee and Intelligentsia.

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