Today, Panera Bread (NASDAQ: PNRA) announced that 100% of its franchisees have committed to the eCommerce platform that will serve as the backbone for Panera 2.0. This commitment involves payment of capital contributions to Panera as well as on-going commitments to reimburse Panera for each franchisee’s share of development costs, maintenance and future upgrades.
“We are very pleased that our franchisees have unanimously embraced 2.0,” commented Ron Shaich, founder, Chairman and CEO. “For the past two years, we have shared this vision with our franchisees, allowing them to be both informed and aligned. They asked hard questions. The fact that we received their commitments less than six weeks after making the formal request underscores how supportive they are of our initiatives.”
Tom Howley, the Franchise Chairman of the “Bread Council” and a Panera franchisee based in Connecticut, commented, “The Panera franchisee community is very supportive of the moves Panera is making into eCommerce and the broader vision around Panera 2.0. Our focus as a brand has always been on long-term value creation and this will allow Panera to sustain future growth by creating a better customer experience.” The “Bread Council” is an independent group elected by franchisees which discusses strategic matters with the company.
Panera expects to have its Rapid Pick-Up system enabled by its mobile app and web apps in place by the end of 2014. The full Panera 2.0 system is expected to be rolled out to approximately 100 cafes by the end of 2014.
As of April 30, 2014, there are 1,800 bakery-cafes in 45 states and in Ontario, Canada operating under the Panera Bread, Saint Louis Bread Co.or Paradise Bakery & Cafe names.