Panera Bread Company

1995 Words4 Pages
Panera Bread Company is an intriguing business operation that came to be an exceptional “fast casual” restaurant through observing, learning, acquiring, and divesting of unprofitable assets. Panera’s history began when Pavailler, a French oven manufacturer, opened a demonstration bakery in Boston by the name of Au Bon Pain in 1976. In 1978 an adventure capitalist by the name of Louis Kane purchased Au Bon Pain. Kane had great aspirations for expanding Au Bon Pain, but had little success. In 1981 Robert Shaich, a Harvard Business graduate, small business owner, and master baker, merged his own cookie bakery with that of Kane’s bread bakery forming Au Bon Pain Co. Inc. With Shaich’s smart business sense and Kane’s business connections the two partners, and co-CEOs, were able to successfully expand Au Bon Pain Co. Inc. while at the same time reducing debts incurred by Kane’s initial unsuccessfulness. In 1985 Kane and Shaich successfully transitioned their bakery into a “fast casual” restaurant by adding sandwiches to their menu. The year 1991 marked perhaps the greatest accomplishment for Kane and Shaich as this was the year they took Au Bon Pain public.
The success of Au Bon Pain continued even further upon the acquisition of the Saint Louis Bread Company in 1993. For several years Au Bon Pain’s management studied Saint Louis Bread Company’s operations as well as watched the habits of their consumer base. Eventually, Au Bon Pain’s management realized the business habits of their new acquisition had the capability to lead them even further down the road of success. For the next several years Au Bon Pain focused much of its time, effort, and capital on the successful expansion of their café style Saint Louis Bread stores, al...

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...ect on the other segments. Moreton needs to forever be on his toes and ensure all segments are operating to their fullest capabilities so that Panera can continue to keep its debts low and its name well-known in the food service industry.
As of the end of 2009 Panera had yet to access its $250 million credit facility. If Moreton continues to keep Panera’s total assets at approximately three and a half times its total liabilities Panera should not have to access that credit facility nor should the company have to worry about having to pass up a future strategic alliance or acquisition. Low debts, high assets, and continued watchfulness of all business operations are the key to Panera’s future success.

Works Cited

Wheelen, Thomas L. and J. David Hunger. Strategic Management and Business Policy, 13th Ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc., 2012. Print.
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