Panera Bread Co . (Nasdaq: PNRA) announced today it has signed an agreement with Bill Walsh and Dale Wiggins, a new franchise partnership, to develop a total of 22 new Panera Bread bakery-cafes in Palm Beach and Broward counties, Fla. The first store is scheduled to open by the end of 2001.
Walsh and Wiggins are partners in the Daland Corporation. Formed in 1976, the corporation owns and operates 108 Pizza Hut stores in 13 states.
Panera Bread also reported it has expanded the agreements of two existing franchise partnerships, Randy Simon and Howard Wilkins, and Jim Magers and Jay Burchfield. Magers and Simon are, respectively, the first two franchisees of Panera Bread (nee Saint Louis Bread Co.).
Simon and Wilkins have completed their original development schedule in Kansas and Kansas City, Mo., and have agreed to open 10 more bakery-cafes in the same territory for a total of 22 stores. Their next bakery-cafe is scheduled to open by year's end.
Magers and Burchfield have added two bakery-cafes to their existing development schedule in Oklahoma City, Okla. They currently operate three stores in this market and have committed to opening a total of four new stores by the end of 2002. Magers and Burchfield also operate four bakery-cafes in the Dallas-Ft. Worth, Tex. market, with plans to open an additional eight stores. In addition, Magers operates 12 bakery-cafes in Springfield, Mo., Fayetteville, Ariz. and Tulsa, Okla.
Separately, the company announced the opening of its 250th bakery-cafe. The new store was opened in Mequon, Wis., by existing franchisee, John Golinvaux on November 17, 2000. Including the Mequon opening, Golinvaux owns and operates six bakery-cafes in Wisconsin. He has a commitment to open an additional ten stores for a total of 16.
Golinvaux recently received the Panera Bread 2000 Featured Franchisee Award for operational excellence and outstanding management. The award recognizes Golinvaux's exceptional leadership abilities in staff management and development, pace-setting customer service, and operational effectiveness.
Ron Shaich, Panera Bread chairman and chief executive officer, said, ``The signing of Bill Walsh and Dale Wiggins is consistent with our strategy to sign quality, experienced franchisees that will expand our market share in key territories nationwide. Just as significant is the confidence Randy Simon, Howard Wilkins, Jim Magers, Jay Burchfield and their partners displayed by fulfilling their original commitments and re-signing to build even more bakery-cafes. The fact that our most seasoned franchisees are committing to new growth is a positive indicator for our future development. Our successful growth strategy is also reflected in the recent opening of our 250th bakery-cafe. This significant achievement is a testament to the dedication of our franchisees and team members.''
Panera Bread intends to release its fourth quarter comparable bakery-cafe sales and final development results for 2000 on Friday, January 12.
Panera Bread owns and franchises bakery-cafes under the Panera Bread and Saint Louis Bread Co. names. The company is the leader in the emerging specialty bread/cafe category due to its unique bread combined with a quick, casual dining experience. Panera Bread offers a wide variety of Sourdough and other specialty breads, along with bagels, pastries, baked goods, hot and cold espresso beverages, hand-tossed salads, signature sandwiches, and soups served in edible Sourdough bread bowls. Additional information is available on the company's website, www.panerabread.com  .