Panera: A Competitive Plan For Success

1340 words - 5 pages

As you walk through the doors of Panera Bread, the lighting and décor calm you while the fresh smells of the bakery envelop you. Every detail has been carefully coordinated to ensure a high quality dining experience at a reasonable price. This sophisticated concept for Panera began when a cookie company and a fast casual restaurant, called Au Bon Pain, synergized their efforts and found a propitious niche between fast food and fine dining (Repetti & Vincelette, 2005). By 2003, the company was able to generate significant revenues through company-owned stores, through the sale of fresh dough to franchisees, and through royalties and fees paid by franchisees (Repetti & Vincelette, 2005). In an effort to ensure success of Panera’s strategic direction, I outlined a plan that focuses on growth, customer service, and financial strategy. The plan that Panera actually pursued was similar to my proposal. However, to achieve Panera’s level of success and industry dominance, I would have selected to follow the plan that Panera’s management designed.
The success of Panera’s competitive strategy is based on the company’s ability to create value for customers, effectively expand their reach through new locations, and their ability to exercise financial control of their operations. Panera has created a valuable experience for their customers by combining the casual atmosphere of a coffee shop with the quality of a sandwich shop and the expedited service of a fast food establishment. Furthermore, Panera experienced incredible progress from 1999 to 2003 based on their well planned growth strategy. The company avoided the limited growth experienced by restaurants in urban areas by strategically placing their new locations in areas that were predominant and easily accessible (Repetti & Vincelette, 2005). Franchising turned out to be a very prosperous avenue for Panera. In fact, franchised operations quadrupled from 1999 to 2003 and outnumbered company-owned Panera locations (Repetti & Vincelette, 2005). Finally, Panera’s fervent focus on their financial strategy gave the company a competitive advantage. The decision to sell Au Bon Pain allowed Panera Bread to entirely eliminate their debt and gain capital for future store openings (Repetti & Vincelette, 2005). Another smart financial decision the company made was their imposed franchise fees and strict requirement that all franchisees purchase dough directly from the company’s fresh dough facility (Repetti & Vincelette, 2005). Therefore, Panera was able to not only generate revenue from company-owned stores, but also had a steady revenue flow from their franchised stores.
In order for Panera to experience endured success in their new strategic direction, I propose that the company pursue a strategy that emphasizes growth, seeks to enhance the customer experience, and reinforces their financial control. Panera should continue its rapid growth through franchising. Though franchising can create problems for...

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