Panera Bread began nearly 30 years ago when Louis Kane and Ron Shaich founded the Au Bon Pain Co. Their business spread along the east coast of the United States and grew to become a leader in the bakery-café industry. In 1993 Au Bon Pain Co purchased a chain of 20 bakery-cafés operating in the St. Louis area known as the Saint Louis Bread Company. By 1997 the combined business had become known as Panera Bread and taken the lead in the bakery-café market. Currently Panera Bread and Saint Louis Bread Company are operating 1,276 locations in 40 locations in the United States and Canada.
Panera bread is now a publicly-traded company on the NASDAQ stock market. In 2008 its stock rose 50 percent to $54 dollars a share, making Panera the best performing restaurant stock of 2008. Over the past ten years the stock has appreciated at an annual growth rate of 30 percent, making Panera Bread the best performing restaurant stock over the last ten years.
Panera’s trademark bakery-cafés specialize in freshly-baked specialty breads, make-to-order sandwiches, home-made soups served in bread bowls and gourmet coffees. Their commitment to quality food and superior customer service has resulted in accolades from customers and industry professional alike. Panera Bread scored the highest level of customer loyalty among quick-casual restaurants, according to research conducted by TNS Intersearch. Panera Bread was mentioned in Sandleman & Associates 2007 Quick-Track “Awards of Excellence.” Even restaurant expert Zagat rated Panera Bread Number One in the following categories in its 2008 fast-food chains survey: Popular, Salad, Healthy Option and Facilities (Panera Bread Co, 2010).
What is Panera Bread's strategy? What type of competitive advantage is Panera Bread trying to achieve?
Panera Bread’s strategy is to provide high quality, fresh foods at reasonable prices, with greater variety than its competitors and an overall premium specialty café experience....