2015 U.S. Sales: $4.8 billion
2015 U.S. Units: 1,955
Executives coined “Panera 2.0
” as a label for the chain’s suite of tech initiatives, but the term could just as readily signify the reinvented bakery-cafe chain in its entirety—if the tag weren’t as stale as yesterday’s muffins. Something like “Panera 2.8
” might be a more accurate way of capturing the changes that range from stripping recipes of additives to adding a big-time executive in the form of president Drew Madsen, formerly the No. 2 guy at Darden. The setup took four years; now, says CEO Ron Shaich, it’s payoff time. He cites the examples of Charlotte, N.C., stores that were collecting $33,000 in weekly sales pre-Panera 2.0, about $45,000 afterward, and roughly $55,000 today with the addition of delivery
, the chain’s next big initiative.