The Chief Architect of the Panera Bread Dynasty Is Handing Off the CEO Baton

Panera Bread CEO Ron Shaich has created one hell of playbook on a tips on how to obtain greatness within the restaurant business. He will now have some extra time to consider that spotlight reel. 

The JAB Holdings owned salad and sandwich chain stated Wednesday that Shaich, 63, will step apart as CEO on January 1, 2018 whereas remaining on the board. Replacing Shaich will probably be restaurant business veteran Blaine Hurst, who earlier than becoming a member of Panera Bread as president in 2010 had government degree stints at Papa John’s (PZZA) and Boston Chicken. It was additionally introduced that JAB Holdings will purchase 304 retailer sandwich chain Au Bon Pain.

“This is the right time for me to step down as CEO while still staying involved in the business as Chairman. I returned in 2011 because our growth was slowing and we needed to reposition Panera as a better competitive alternative with expanded growth opportunities, and I’m happy to say we’ve done just that,” Shaich stated in an announcement. 

Talk about life coming full circle. 

At age 27 and a solely few years faraway from Harvard Business School, Shaich (pronounced ‘shake’) opened a cookie retailer in Boston referred to as the Cookie Jar in 1980. Ever the individuals watcher, Shaich started ordering baguettes and croissants for his retailer from a close-by Au Bon Pain after observing that many people weren’t shopping for cookies earlier than midday.

Sensing a chance to promote extra unique sandwiches than the usual ones on entire wheat or rye, Shaich approached enterprise capitalist Louis Kane, who was operating Au Bon Pain on the time, about becoming a member of the bakery chain. The two shaped a partnership in 1981.

 

Panera Bread founder, Ron Shaich.
Panera Bread founder, Ron Shaich.

 

By 1993, Au Bon Pain, which went public in 1991, had unfold throughout the U.S., and bought St. Louis Bread, a regional restaurant chain identified for its contemporary elements and alluring atmosphere. Shaich wished the corporate to shift its consideration towards St. Louis Bread as an alternative of Au Bon Pain and after he prevailed in a board combat, Au Bon Pain was offered to a private-equity agency in 1999.

 

Shaich then took the helm at St. Louis Bread and altered its identify to Panera, which is Latin for “bread basket” or “bread bowl,” with the intention to enchantment to a wider viewers. From there, Shaich led an aggressive roll-out of Panera Bread eating places throughout the nation that led its inventory to return greater than 1,500% below his management.

 

In 2010, Shaich selected to step apart as CEO however retain the position of government chairman so he may pursue philanthropic pursuits similar to driving consciousness of starvation in America. At the request of long-time buddy and CEO Bill Moreton, nevertheless, Shaich returned to Panera as chairman and CEO in 2013 (Moreton is now government vice chairman), in a transfer much like Howard Schultz’s return to the helm at Starbucks ( SBUX) .

 

Today, Shaich arms off the baton to a restaurant chain with greater than 2,000 areas, below new house owners in JAB Holdings and with a ton of momentum in digital ordering. Hat tip to an American success story. 

 

 


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