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Panera buys into a second, higher-end concept

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Panera Bread has purchased a majority interest in a five-unit breakfast-and-lunch chain in Boston called Tatte Bakery & Cafe, with plans to test the concept as a possible growth vehicle into residential urban and upscale suburban markets.

Panera has an option to expand its stake in Tatte beyond the 50.01 percent it quietly bought at the end of 2015, CEO Ron Shaich revealed to financial analysts yesterday.

Shaich described Tatte as an “urban craft bakery-cafe” serving “high-end customers.”

“Importantly, Tatte will continue to operate as an independent company with support from us as appropriate,” Shaich commented.

Tatte is not the first diversification for Panera. In its early days, the company bought the Paradise Bakery chain from the Charthouse restaurant group, and bought a stake in a small Southeastern bread company several years later.

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