"There aren't many businesses with a successful track record for 20-plus years that could still qualify as a fast grower, while at the same time being able to point to industry-best stock market performance over the last decade," says Bill Moreton, Panera's CEO and president. "Panera's ability to continually defy the conventional growth curve suggests there remains a great deal of opportunity for the concept."
To be eligible for the 100 Fastest-Growing Companies list, foreign or domestic companies had to meet certain key criteria: be trading on a major U.S. stock exchange; have a market capitalization of at least $250 million; have revenue and net income of at least $50 million and $10 million respectively for the four quarters ended on or before April 30, 2010; and have an annualized growth in revenue and earnings per share of at least 15 percent over the last three years on or before April 30, 2010.
Companies that met the criteria were then ranked by past three-year annual revenue growth rate, earnings per share (EPS) growth rate, and total return for the period ended June 30, 2010. A company's overall standing on the list was based on the sum of these three ranks.
"Though our place on the Fortune ranking reflects certain financial milestones reached, it is also testament to Panera's management, our franchisees, and our associates—all of whom are contributing to our growth through the belief that Panera is a special concept and an enduring consumer brand," Moreton says.
In addition to the Fortune Fastest-Growing ranking, Panera Bread this year has been named to BusinessWeek's Top Customer Service Leaders list and was named 'Most Popular' large restaurant chain in the 2010 Zagat Fast-Food Survey.