Panera Bread Company is one of the fastest growing bakery-café restaurants in the United States. Panera Bread Company was originally known as the Saint Louis Bread Company, which was a chain of 20 bakery-café located in St. Louis. In 1993, Au Bon Pain Co. purchased Saint Louis Bread Company. In the years following the purchase, Au Bon Pain managers traveled the country and studied the market for fast food and quick service meals and saw growth opportunities in the higher- quality quick-dining experiences segment of the restaurant industry. In the years follow, Au Bon Pain Co. renovated Saint Louis Bread Company to proceed with the vision of specialty café with authentic, fresh, artisan bakery with upscale and quick services. The idea of higher-quality quick service experience, which was also named the Panera Bread concept, was so successful that the company decided to sell off its Au Bon Pain bakery café division to focus exclusively on the Panera Bread Concept. Finally in 1999, the company changed its name to Panera Bread Company. Since then, Panera Bread had successfully expanded its market in the United States and Canada by providing its customers with fresh bakery items in inviting environments with fast and quality services. In 2011, with nearly 1500 company owned and franchised bakery café in the U.S. and Canada and average sales of $2.2 million per store, Panera Bread is a clear leader in the “fast-casual” restaurant segment of the restaurant industry. Restaurants in the “fast-casual” segment are restaurants that fall between the fast food restaurant segment and the full service restaurant segment.
Panera Bread Company is part of the restaurant industry in the United States, therefore new trends and new statistical studies are important considerations for Panera Bread’s strategies. In 2010, United States added a net of 7700 establishments, which is a huge improvement from 2600 establishments in 2009. The breakdown of 7770 establishments in 2010 included: 3968 establishments in full-service segment, 2973 establishments in quick-service segment, and 162 in the snack and nonalcoholic beverage segment. In 2010, sales revenue for commercial eating place average about $1.5 billion daily. Restaurant sales range from $2.5 million to $5 million in 2008.
According to National restaurant Associations, food service locations were projected to reach $604 billion in sales in 2011. In 2011, quick services restaurant were expected to grow slightly faster than full-service restaurants, with growth of 3.3% and 3.1% over 2010, respectively. The catering food services category is expected to show the strongest growth, with a growth of 6.2%. Panera Bread Company can use these statistics to see how the company is doing compare to the industry expectation. Panera Bread Co. can also use these statistics, such as the expected strong growth in catering category as an opportunity to further expand their catering service category.
Restaurant service is labor intensive, highly