Einstein Noah Restaurant Group announced it is closing 30 Bruegger’s Bagels bakeries. The restaurants are primarily in Eastern markets. The company said the decision was based on financial performance and improved positioning for future growth.
The group added that it will be taking steps to help employees affected by the closures, including exploring opportunities at Bruegger’s sister brands, Einstein Bros. and Caribou Coffee & Bagel. This leaves the company with 240-plus locations across the country, it said. This included closing all but one Washington, D.C.-area store—a unit in Arlington, Virginia. Four others closed. The majority of restaurants shuttered were focused in D.C., Philadelphia, and Ohio. Local reports continue to trickle out. Locations in Vermont and Connecticut have stopped operating, as have four in Minnesota and one in Madison, Wisconsin.
In August, the parent company of Bruegger’s Bagels sold the brand to Caribou Coffee. Le Duff America, which owns la Madeleine French Bakery and Café, said it planned to launch its global café brand Brioche Doree in the U.S.
Caribou Coffee is owned by JAB Holdings, which over the last year has acquired Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Panera Bread. Privately held JAB also owns several other coffee brands including Peet’s Coffee and Tea and Einstein Noah. Bruegger’s and Caribou have experimented with co-locations over the past several years.
Bruegger’s has had its share of recent struggles. The brand operated 269 locations at the end of 2016, which was down from 284 two years prior.
The company’s largest operator, Flour City Bagels, sold its 28 New York restaurants in August for $4.6 million after a plan was approved in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The group, out of suburban Rochester, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection in March 2016, listing more than $10 million in debts to over 200 creditors. The franchisee was responsible for opening the nation’s first Bruegger’s bakery on Congress Street in Troy, New York, in 1983. It added 31 more locations in the Albany, Syracuse, and Rochester areas over the ensuing 30 years.