Industry News | April 20, 2017 | By Danny Klein | QSR Exclusive Brief

Ex-Panera Heavyweight Takes Charge at Promising Fast Casual

CoreLife Eatery hosts Syracuse University’s women’s field hockey team for a yoga session. CoreLife Eatery
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A former Panera Bread heavyweight is ready to direct the future of a promising fast casual. Scott Davis, Panera’s chief concept officer from the brand’s inception in 1996 until December 2015, was named president of CoreLife Eatery, a Syracuse, New York-born brand that is about to open its 10th location in two years.

CoreLife has restaurants in New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, and is planning to grow nationally with corporate and franchise locations. The goal, the brand says, is to open 60 stores per year over the next five, which adds up to 300 units by 2022.

“We are extremely proud to announce Scott Davis as a critical part of our executive team to help CoreLife Eatery continue its growth trajectory and introduce the brand and its offering to new communities throughout the U.S. Mr. Davis was a critical part of the inception, growth and success of Panera Bread and CoreLife Eatery will benefit tremendously from his wealth of industry knowledge, expertise and experience,” says Larry Wilson, CEO of CoreLife Eatery, in a statement.

Davis was a confidant to Panera CEO Ron Shaich for more than 20 years. He played a leading role in the fast casual leader’s development, which was recently sold for $7.5 billion to JAB Holding, the company that owns Krispy Kreme and Caribou Coffee, among other brands.

At Panera, Davis oversaw all food and bakery product development, category and menu management, restaurant design, and sustainability. In other words, he was an extremely key cog in the company’s machine.

Davis can also be credited with ushering in Panera’s free WiFi program, catering, and a handful of menu items that are still top sellers today. He was a member of the executive strategy team that watched the brand explode to more than 2,000 units nationwide.

“I am forever indebted to Ron for his leadership, friendship and commitment to making a difference in the world,” Davis says in a statement. “His influence has had a profound and lasting impact on me and the entire restaurant industry.”

Davis is a visible industry leader as well, speaking at conventions and conferences across the country, including the Food Tank Summit and Sustainable Brands Conference.

The company says the move will “position the company for success while maintaining superior quality.”

CoreLife Eatery focuses on greens, grains, and bone broth as basic building blocks, and customization. The single-line service system and narrow menu “virtually eliminates order error or surprise. Simultaneously, there is great profit potential because of the simplicity of their ingredients and the end-to-end use of all vegetables, proteins and add-ons. Dressings, broths and beverages are made from scratch every day in each location so there is a noticeable differentiation from other dining alternatives,” CoreLife Eatery says.