Operations

Panera Bread cuts 17% of corporate staff in preparation for planned IPO

The fast-casual chain is streamlining operations as its parent company plans to go public. This is the latest step.
Panera Bread
Panera Brands generated $4.8 billion in revenue in fiscal 2022. |Photo: Shutterstock.

The Panera Bread chain has cut 17% of its corporate staff, or about 300 positions, as it continues preparation for an initial public offering.

The restructuring, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, has focused on reducing support roles in an effort to streamline operations at Panera Brands Inc., which is parent to the Panera Bread, Einstein Bros. Bagels and Caribou Coffee brands. Panera Bread has about 1,800 corporate staff members.

Company officials did not confirm the numbers but said the layoffs only impacted the Panera Bread brand specifically, which is the largest of the three.

In a statement, the company said Panera is taking the step to simplify operations "to best position the company for the future and continually improve our guest experience.

"To fully enable this simplified model, we have made some difficult decisions to better align our support structure with our strategy," the statement continued. "This decision was not made lightly, and we are immensely grateful for the contributions of those impacted. We are committed to treating every associate with respect and compassion during this transition period."

The St. Louis-based company in May announced a restructuring of its leadership team as part of the IPO-prep process.

Panera CEO Niren Chaudhary was named chairman of Panera Brands at the time and José Alberto Dueñas , the former president and CEO of Einstein Bros., moved in the group’s CEO chair. Those changes were effective July 1.

There have also been changes on the board. Patrick Grismer, a former Starbucks CFO who is now the lead independent director, became chair of the board’s audit committee.

Later, the company announced that soon-to-be-former Krispy Kreme CEO Mike Tattersfield will join Panera Brands as chairman of the board in January, replacing Chaudhary in that role. Tattersfield, who served on Panera’s board before JAB bought the chain, is also a former CEO of Caribou and helped lead that brand through the sale to JAB. He later also served as CEO of Einstein Noah Restaurant Group.

Panera Bread was a public company before it was acquired by Europe-based investment firm JAB Holding Co. in 2017 in a $7.5 billion deal. Later, Panera, Einstein and Caribou were brought together under one group, a move that at the time was seen as preparation for a spinoff.

In 2021, the company announced a planned IPO with a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, led by New York restaurateur Danny Meyer. But the outlook for IPOs soured amid fears of recession and the deal was called off a year later.

Still, Panera Brands continues to have sights set on returning to the public markets, which the Wall Street Journal has predicted will come next year.

The group’s three brands include more than 3,800 locations, which in 2022 generated about $4.8 billion in revenue.

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