Monday, October 28, 2019

Panera Bread Case Essay Example for Free

Panera Bread Case Essay The Au Bon Pain Bakery was first opened in 1976 to fulfill the concept of a fast casual restaurant. Following a period of debt; the Cookie Jar Bakery owned by Ronald Shaich and Aub Bon Pain Bakery owned by Louis Kane merged to become Au Bon Pain Co. Inc. in 1981. In 1985 after noticing customers buying bread and adding their own sandwich meat, the company decided to add fresh made sandwiches to their menu to capitalize on the profit. After going public in 1991, Shaich decided that in order to expand the purchase of the St. Louis Bread Company was paramount. Au Bon Pain or â€Å"where good bread is† would eventually become Panera Bread Company in 1999(Thomas L. Wheelen and J). Panera Bread Company would become the leader in fast casual dining; combining the ease of fast food with the quality of the restaurant experience and a coffee shop atmosphere. Noticing the needs of businessmen for having a place to meet and dine simultaneously; Panera developed its business to meet five different â€Å"meals†; breakfast, lunch, daytime â€Å"chillout†, lunch in the evening, and take-home bread(Thomas L.  Wheelen and J). As a result of Panera’s ingenuity; it became the leader in a bakery-cafe style restaurant providing fresh-baked goods, made-to-order sandwiches, soups, salads, and coffee (Thomas L. Wheelen and J). Panera Bread Company’s growth and success was the direct result of the standards set by Au Bon Pain in its identification as the pioneer in the fast casual restaurant category. Having met four criteria including: a limited service or self service style, pricing that fell between fast food and casual dining, made-to-order food with complex flavors, and upscale decor much like that of a neighborhood bistro; Panera quickly grew and gained profit and continues to flourish today. Panera enjoyed total revenues in 2011 of $1,822,032,000 as reported to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and net income of $135, 952,000. First and foremost I feel that Panera’s effort to sponsor charities is quite commendable, there truly is no better way to gain recognition or compete with similar businesses than to give to charity. This year a local restaurant in Oak Harbor hosted a pig roast as a means for collecting donations to charities in the area. The amount collected and distributed to local charities by the owner of the local restaurant was published in our local paper. As a result of his efforts, he has gained recognition and people are honored to eat in his restaurant. An ever developing menu is also a good way to gain recognition, however I feel that this method could possibly pose issues like the ones seen with fast food chains when they discontinue a favorite sandwich or drink. Many times a fast food joint has a special new drink or sandwich and after a month do away with it. This is frustrating to the customers because they enjoyed the new item and wish to continue purchasing. If proper research is not done to decide whether or not to keep a menu item, business could suffer. An identifiable image is definitely a good way to promote a business, yet I don’t feel that it would be the right move considering the style of business Panera is trying to continue. Most images such as McDonald’s golden arches, and Applebees’ flaming apple tend to scream fast food. While Applebees may not be considered by many as fast food, it tends to fall further down the list in quality than many of our local restaurants. Here in Oak Harbor we have restaurants that are well-known in the community such as Frasier’s and Flyers which do not have specific signage to identify them. Instead these businesses are advertised through word of mouth, and advertising on the actual store front. 2) Schaich would often do the opposite of his competition during periods of economic downturn. While many of his competitors slashed prices and offered extensive discounts, Panera doubled its prices on bagels and soups. This strategy was fundamental to the success of Panera. What would increasing prices during recession be a strategy that worked for Panera? What other strategies might be helpful in maintaining the competitive edge during a recession? I believe the reason Panera was most successful by increasing prices instead of lowering them during recession is the fact that they offered high quality product. Another reason I believe this strategy worked is because it offered consumers an outlet for the stress associated with recession. Had Panera lowered its prices while still offering high quality, it would have been a reminder of the worsening economic condition and perceived as not at all favorable to Panera’s high-end consumers. It is my belief that another strategy that could be beneficial to Panera during recession is acquisition. If Panera were to acquire another company that produces bakery products comparable to Panera, it might broaden its consumer base and possibly expand to more locations. This strategy would reduce competition by consuming the other company’s customer base. The other company would most likely jump at the chance to sell given the economic downturn. Overall this strategy would be helpful in eliminating competition as well as expanding Panera’s locations. 3) In 2003 Panera Bread Company initiated for unit general managers and multi-unit managers to own a majority interest in their business (Thomas L. Wheelen and J). This practice was designed to assist in enrichment of the consumer experience because the people working the bakery-cafes were experienced as well as motivated. In what other ways might Panera motivate its employees and franchise owners? Should Panera better their part-time employee benefits? I believe giving managers a share is a good step in the right direction, it gives them a reason to do their very best for the business. I agree with Panera’s idea of having experienced and knowledgeable employees at the forefront of the business. A competent business is more likely to prosper and draw consumers than a company that employs people with no knowledge of their product. As for additional forms of motivation, I would have to say that first and foremost an employee discount would be a great incentive for employees. This form of motivation would be valuable to employees who truly believed in Panera and its quality. Another great motivator for employees would be charity donation matching. If Panera were to offer its employee of the month the opportunity to have Panera match any and all of his/her donations to charity either in product or funds; this may also motivate employees that are in line with Panera’s values to do their very best. There is a sense of pride in belonging to a company that takes CSR seriously, by voicing this value Panera is more likely to find employees that share in their spirit. Far too often employee burnout becomes a real issue in service related businesses. I think that Panera should offer sabbaticals to employees who wish to work on community service projects. Not only with a break from everyday routine aid in preventing burnout, extra community service will get the brand name out there, and employees will feel that they did something positive and in line with Panera’s values. I believe Panera should have definitely looked at increasing part-time employees’ benefits. Their part-time employees are stated to be at around 13,200, which is significantly higher than their full-time employees. These part-time employees therefore have a significant impact on the success of the business. Keeping in line with Panera’s idea of investing in the business to benefit the consumer, offering better benefits to part-time employees would ensure that employees felt valued and in turn would provide better service.

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