Panera Bread Company announced an agreement with Mark and Monica von Waaden of Austin, Texas, to open twenty Panera Bread bakery-cafes in portions of Harris, Brazoria, and Fort Bend Counties in the Houston, Texas, area. The von Waadens signed the agreement on December 10, 2001, and will operate under the entity name Rolling Dough Ltd. Chuck and Andria Cain had previously signed an agreement in July 2001 to develop ten units in Northwest Houston. The Cains are scheduled to open their first bakery-cafe in May of this year, and the von Waadens plan to open their first location by January 2003.

Ed Toles joins the von Waadens as their operating partner, bringing seventeen years of restaurant development experience. Toles was most recently the president and CEO of Cool River Cafe.

Ron Shaich, Panera Bread chairman and chief executive officer, said, “We are very pleased to have Mark, Monica, and Ed join the Cain Group in developing the Houston market. The combined strength of these franchise groups provides the experience and resources we need to successfully deliver our concept to consumers.”

“My wife, Monica, and I fell in love with the fresh-baked breads and the beautiful bakery-cafes,” von Waaden said. “We think the Panera Bread concept of outstanding bread coupled with a warm, inviting environment is a natural fit with the sophistication that the Houston market represents. We couldn’t be more proud and excited to join the Cain Group in bringing Panera Bread to Houston.”

Panera Bread owns and franchises bakery-cafes under the Panera Bread and Saint Louis Bread Co. names.

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