Panera Bread is already one of the most dominant fast-casual restaurants in the country, and an unexpected merger means it's getting even bigger. The company is joining with Einstein Bros. Bagels and Caribou Coffee to form a breakfast-focused juggernaut called Panera Brands, executives have announced.
Panera already has more than 2,100 locations across the country. Einstein Bros. has more than 1,000, while Caribou has more than 700. Together, the chains will employ more than 110,000 workers in 10 countries, reports The Takeout.
“We believe Panera Bread, Caribou Coffee and Einstein Bros. Bagels together will leverage each company’s unique expertise and services to build an unrivaled fast casual platform with a tremendous runway for growth," Niren Chaudhary, CEO of Panera Bread and the new CEO of Panera Brands, said in a statement.
Like many chains, Panera has been redesigning its restaurants and bolstering takeout and delivery options after the pandemic shifted diners' preferences. New restaurants emphasize drive-thrus, computerized menus, contactless ordering, and other streamlined features, reports CNN.