Financing

Panera buys Au Bon Pain

Panera Bread Co. has agreed to acquire the Au Bon Pain bakery-cafe chain, a business it sold 26 years ago, to ease the buyer’s entry into nontraditional locations.

Terms were not disclosed.

“This acquisition offers the strategic opportunity for us to grow in several new real estate channels, including hospitals, universities, transportation centers and urban locations, among others,” Ron Shaich, CEO of Panera, said in a prepared statement.

The 300-unit Au Bon Pain chain has a large presence in hospitals, colleges and so-called business-and-industry settings.

Panera operates or franchisees about 2,050 bakery-cafes, virtually all of them in strip centers or parking lot pads.

The deal deepens the involvement of Panera’s parent company, JAB Holdings, in the bakery-cafe market, a sector dominated by Panera. In addition to that brand, JAB’s restaurant portfolio includes Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Einstein Bros., Noah’s Bagels, Caribou Coffee, Peet's Coffee, Stumptown Coffee, Intelligentsia and Mighty Leaf tea parlors.

Few of those brands, however, have a presence in nontraditional locations.

The purchase came amid rumors that JAB was looking at Dunkin’ Donuts as an acquisition target.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.

Multimedia

Exclusive Content

Emerging Brands

5 pre-emerging restaurant brands ready for takeoff

These small concepts are still proving out their ideas, but each shows promise as a potential candidate for the next generation of emerging chains.

Technology

This little-known iPhone feature could change restaurant ordering

Tech Check: Almost every customer has a POS in their pocket. Can mini mobile apps get them to actually use it?

Financing

Red Lobster gives private equity another black eye

The Bottom Line: The role a giant sale-leaseback had in the bankruptcy filing of the seafood chain has drawn more criticism of the investment firms' financial engineering. The criticism is well-earned.

Trending

More from our partners