via USA Today

Because JAB is privately held, it doesn’t disclose a lot about its strategies or intentions, but it does own other breakfast and coffee shops, including Caribou Coffee, Peet’s Coffee and Tea and Einstein Bros. Bagels.

“Panera fits with the nature of that portfolio, said Sara Senatore, managing partner and senior analyst at Bernstein. “Panera is the most aspirational and most identifies with health and wellness as opposed to Krispy Kreme, for example. It’s not clear how exactly they plan to use or leverage the different brands in the portfolio. Are they going to run all of them all separately?”

She added that Panera could use the heft of its brands to obtain greater purchasing power or might import the best practices from each brand.

The deal comes amid a sharp shift for the restaurant business. Table-service restaurant chains are losing customers to fast-casual competitors, while the entire business struggles amid lower grocery costs.

Visits to full-service restaurants are expected to decline by 2% in 2017, according to NPD Group. But the research firm projected that the quick-service category would enjoy a 1% increase.

Hours after the news broke, some Panera customers were expressing concern about what might happen to its more upscale nature and the company’s altruism.

Senatore said she doesn’t think JAB would change too much.

“I don’t think you buy at this type of premium if you’re going to totally undo and disrupt all the brand equity and customer loyalty it has,” Senatore said. “It wouldn’t make sense to change too much about it.” Read More