The Panera Bread Company: Challenges and Acquisitions

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Back on Track? Panera Bread Company has a fairly detailed and colorful history. The roots of the company were formed in 1981 when it was founded by two entrepreneurs, Ron Shaich and Louis Kane. However, the initial organization was named Au Bon Pain Co. Inc. It originally began as a primarily east coast based operation that was eventually able to cultivate a few international locations. It enjoyed steady progress and growth through the duration of the 1980's, and soon became one of the best know café bakeries in the country. One of its most successful acquisitions was the buying of Saint Louis Bread Co. in 1993. That acquisition gave Au Bon control of approximately 20 bakery cafes in the Missouri region. The company changed its name to Panera Bread Company in the mid 1990's. At this point, "average unit volumes increased by 75" (No author, 2013). By the end of that decade Au Bon Pain Co. Inc. was completely dissolved and Panera Bread enjoyed continued success throughout the industry. Its stock steadily increased throughout the early part of the first decade of the 2000's, creating substantial funds for shareholders as a publicly traded company. It was largely able to enhance its reputation by acquiring an Arizona based café bakery, Paradise Bakery & Café. This company had operations in several states and had over 50 locations. As of the end of the first quarter of 2013, Panera Bread Company had locations throughout the United States and in Canada, in more than 1500

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