Pan American Group LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Flynn Restaurant Group LP, announced Wednesday that it has acquired 34 Panera Bread Bakery-Café locations in Kansas and Missouri from Wichita, Kanas-based Original Bread Inc.
This acquisition cements Pan American Group’s position as the second largest Panera Bread franchisee, increasing its unit count from 96 to 130 locations. The newly acquired locations include Panera Breads in Metro Kansas City, Lawrence, Topeka, Manhattan and Wichita, as well as St. Joseph and Sedalia, Missouri.
Original Bread Inc. was co-founded in 1993 by Randy Simon, Howard Wilkins, Art Anast and Mark Babich, and was the first franchisee of St. Louis Bread, Panera Bread's predecessor. The company became one of the largest franchisees in the Panera Bread system and ranked #128 in Restaurant Finance Monitor's 2016 Top 200 report.
"Growing with Panera over the last 24 years has been an experience for which I will always be grateful. As I look back, I'm truly awed to have been involved in the growth of this dynamic concept. It has been our pleasure to share Panera Warmth with our many guests over the years," says Randy Simon, Original Bread co-founder, president and chief executive officer. "Our team is confident that Flynn Restaurant Group will carry on our standards of excellence in service and our preeminence in community involvement. Their leadership role in the restaurant industry will allow them to fully implement all the new initiatives which Panera has slated for national roll-out."
Flynn Restaurant Group LP is the largest restaurant franchise operator, and one of the 50 largest foodservice companies of any kind, in the United States. Its subsidiary Apple American Group LLC is the largest Applebee’s franchisee, and its subsidiary Bell American Group is the third largest Taco Bell franchisee. Overall Flynn Restaurant Group owns and operates 881 restaurants in 30 states, generating $1.9 billion in sales and directly employing approximately 42,000 people.
“We are pleased to announce the addition of these Panera Bread locations to our portfolio of restaurants,” says Greg Flynn, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Flynn Restaurant Group. “Randy and his partners have built a tremendous business, and we look forward to continuing to deliver the exceptional Panera experiences that Original Bread has provided its guests in Kansas and Missouri for the past twenty-three years. The Panera brand has established itself as one of the most successful concepts in the history of the restaurant industry, and we’re especially excited to continue to grow within it.”
Eric Cole, Original Bread’s COO, says: "I grew up with Panera, as did my family. My daughter, who is in college now, was a newborn when we first got started with the company. Our cafes have been places where we, and the 1,300 associates we employ, enjoy spending our days while our guests gather together talking over coffee, studying, grabbing a sandwich or enjoying a bowl of soup on a rainy day. We're also extremely proud to have contributed over $5 million just during the past fiscal year in retail product to various food banks and non-profit organizations in the communities we serve."