The Restaurant Deal Frenzy Has a Shelf Life

The Restaurant Deal Frenzy Has a Shelf Life

The best deal-makers know to strike while the iron is hot. By that measure, the restaurant industry is sizzling.

Wednesday’s $7.5 billion acquisition of Panera Bread Co. by JAB Holding Co. was the largest-ever U.S. restaurant deal and the third major restaurant tie-up in the past six weeks.

Consolidation is afoot — and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Too much supply and not enough demand has been hammering the traffic, sales and stock prices of restaurants.

That’s contributed to bankruptcies of public and major private restaurants soaring to the highest number last year since 2011. BITE, the first-ever restaurant ETF, shut down after lagging the S&P 500. And for the first time since 1999, zero restaurant chains went public last year, notes Barclays restaurant analyst Jeffrey Bernstein.

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