Panera’s new parent buys another chain

Brueggers Bagels

After closing on the $7.5 billion purchase of Panera Bread Co., Europe-based JAB Holdings is adding Bruegger’s Bagels to its extensive portfolio of bakery, coffee and breakfast chains.

JAB’s Caribou Coffee business has agreed to acquire Bruegger’s from Le Duff America, the U.S.-based operator of La Madeleine and Mimi’s Cafe, for an undisclosed amount. The deal is expected to close by the end of September.

The deal could hold more strategic significance for Le Duff than it does for JAB. The company, the American arm of French bakery giant Groupe Le Duff, has been preparing to expand its Brioche Doree in the U.S. Earlier this week, Le Duff America announced that it had hired Bloomin’ Brands veteran Julie Hauser-Blanner as president of Brioche Doree, a chain specializing in baked goods, sandwiches and salads. Its presence in the U.S. has been largely limited to nontraditional sites such as highway rest centers and airports.

Funds from the spinoff of Bruegger’s will presumably be used to fund the expansion of Brioche Doree.

JAB’s strategic plan for Bruegger’s was unclear. Caribou is the nation’s second-largest coffee chain, but a very distant runner-up to Starbucks.

The latter has been on a yearslong drive to focus more on food within its cafes. The effort has included buying several businesses. The only one still in operation is Milan-based Princi, a European bakery whose products will be offered in Starbucks' upscale Reserve Roastery branches.

As Princi’s global licensee, Starbucks has also indicated that it plans to open freestanding bakeries.

JAB already has two bagel chains within its extensive holdings: Einstein Bros and Noah’s.

Its other restaurant brands include Krispy Kreme, Peet’s, Stumptown and Intelligentsia.

Retail brands within the fold include Keurig.

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.


Exclusive Content


Restaurants bring the industry's concerns to Congress

Neary 600 operators made their case to lawmakers as part of the National Restaurant Association’s Public Affairs Conference.


Podcast transcript: Virtual Dining Brands co-founder Robbie Earl

A Deeper Dive: What is the future of digital-only concepts? Earl discusses their work to ensure quality and why focusing on restaurant delivery works.


In the fast-casual sector, Chipotle laps Panera Bread

The Bottom Line: The two fast-casual restaurant pioneers have diverged over the past five years, as the burrito chain has thrived while Panera hit a wall. Here's why.


More from our partners