Panera is one of those names and chains you cannot pinpoint where its origins are. Is Panera Spanish for bakery? Not exactly. Is it a New York style deli or a suburban casual dining joint that can be found next to a JC Penney’s? Neither aptly describe what the Panera experience is.
In today’s restaurant world, Panera is a hard-to-define, surprisingly cosmopolitan (or originless!) concept that has worked successfully around the United States in a rapidly growing segment of restaurants—Café bakeries.
Many people are surprised to know that in St. Louis, Panera does not exist. The original name for its bakery is St. Louis Bread Company. This hip sandwich joint is from St. Louis out of all places? What do they even have there? All I know is St. Louis has a giant, silver arch in their city that does not really do anything.
Regardless, quality sandwiches can earn you a ton of money. Just look at Panera’s numbers!
- Research firm, Technomic, reports that 71% of 1,500 survey respondents had been to a café-bakery within the last year 2010 compared to 43% in 2008.
- Sales in the café bakery segment has grown 12 percent from 2008. 1
- Panera’s 2010 nationwide sales were $2.9 billion beating all its competition by a significant margin. Number 2 café bakery chain, Tim Horton’s, reported $443 million in nationwide sales. 1
Why is Panera so successful? Look for a post on October 15.
(1) Study: Bakery-café segment expanding from the Nation’s Restaurant News