Ron Shaich on why Cava deserved to be a public company

A Deeper Dive: The Panera Bread founder, restaurant investor and chairman of Cava joins the podcast to talk about a wide range of issues, including activism and why Panera has no large competitor.

Why are the public markets good for Cava and not Panera Bread?

This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Ron Shaich, the chairman of Cava and former CEO of Panera Bread.

Shaich has turned his attention to investing in and building brands since Panera was sold to JAB Holdings in 2017. He recently wrote a book, “Know What Matters, Lessons from a Lifetime of Transformation.”

We took the opportunity to talk with Shaich about a wide range of issues, including why Panera Bread thrived while many other players in the bakery-café segment could not. We also talk about the decision in the 1990s to sell Au Bon Pain and focus on Panera.

We also talk about some of the other chains Shaich’s Act III Holdings has invested in, including an upscale bakery-café concept, a plant-forward concept and an eatertainment brand.

But we also talk about public companies and activist investing. After the sale of Panera, Shaich has been highly critical of the public markets and their focus on short-termism, particularly that of activist investors. We asked why he would then take Cava public in the face of that criticism.

It’s a fascinating conversation with one of the industry’s more innovative figures, so check it out.

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