Panera Bread

12 for ’12

Our athletes went to the Olympics, our science went to Mars, and our people went to the polls. But what of the restaurant industry in 2012? These dozen items from the year had the biggest impact on the foodservice landscape and shaped the industry for a potentially game-changing 2013.

An Economy in Flux

The economic recovery isn’t lighting a fire under anyone’s feet, but the economy did at least improve, albeit slightly.

Study Shows Panera Serves Up America's Favorite Sandwiches

Panera Bread is at the top of the list of favorite sandwich chains, according to a national study from Market Force, a worldwide leader in customer intelligence solutions. Panera was voted America’s No. 1 sandwich chain in a restaurant industry survey of more than 7,600 consumers. Jason’s Deli and McAlister’s Deli were ranked second and third, followed by Firehouse Subs, Quiznos, Jimmy John’s, and Subway.

Fast Casual Strengthens, Led by Panera, Five Guys

Fast-casual chains strengthened their gains on the overall restaurant industry, with the top 150 fast-casual chains growing 8.4 percent to $21.5 billion in 2011, a faster rate than in 2010 (6.6 percent). In comparison, 2011 sales growth for the Top 500 U.S. chains was 3.5 percent.

Panera Wants to Know: Who Is the Top Teacher?

Panera Bread announces Panera's Top Teachers video contest. Students are encouraged to submit nominations for outstanding teachers at from April 6May 1

Winners will be announced during National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 7-11, 2012. Panera's Top Teachers aims to support local schools, as part of Panera Bread's dedication to supporting local communities.

Tour Panera's First Manhattan Location

This week, QSR got an exclusive media tour of the first Panera Bread to open in Manhattan.

"Like" QSR on Facebook to access behind-the-scenes photos from the tour! 

The new location opened Tuesday, Feb. 6, at 330 Seventh Avenue at 29th Street.

The Manhattan store marks a milestone for the fast casual brand, bringing its total store count to 1,500.

Popular Menu Proteins

As Americans’ hunger for burgers and chicken continues to grow, restaurant operators are tweaking their menus to meet consumers’ demands for new meats and higher quality.

An increasing number of limited-service restaurants have added better and more “natural” meat to their repertoires. At the same time, they are featuring other proteins.

From the growth of Angus menu items to the specialty burger craze, there has been no slowdown in sales of beef on a bun, according to a Technomic study last summer.

Fame, Fortune & Fries at McDonald's

Late last year, McDonald’s announced that it would launch in 645 California stores its own TV channel that broadcasts news, sports, and local-interest stories. The move resonated loudly across the industry, signaling that food alone might not be the future of quick-serve dining rooms.

Rather, customized digital and television content may be the new best way to get customers to hang around the dining room for longer than the time it takes to scarf down a burger and fries.