Panera reportedly cut 17 percent of its corporate headcount ahead of an anticipated IPO, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The company oversees 1,800 employees, meaning roughly 300 workers will be laid off. The cuts were directed toward support-staff roles, the Journal reported.
CEO José Alberto Dueñas said the move would streamline operations in an internal message obtained by the Journal.
“To best position the company for the future and continually improve our guest experience, Panera is taking steps to simplify our operations. To fully enable this simplified model, we have made some difficult decisions to better align our support structure with our strategy,” a Panera spokesperson said in a statement.
Panera is part of Panera Brands (Panera, Einstein Bros. Bagels, and Caribou Coffee), which was first announced in August 2021. Upon formation, it became one of the fast-casual industry’s biggest platforms to date with nearly 4,000 locations. A couple of months later, the group revealed that it wanted to go public via a merger with Danny Meyer’s special purpose acquisition company. However, the strategy was shut down due to “deteriorating capital market conditions” ahead of a July 1, 2022 deadline.
Panera Brands revived its plans to file an IPO in May while also revealing CEO Niren Chaudhary would be stepping down and moving to the chairman role. He was succeeded by Dueña, the former leader of Einstein Bros. Then in September, Panera said Krispy Kreme CEO Mike Tattersfield will become chairman in January, replacing Chaudhary. Additionally, Patrick Grismer, who spent nine years as CFO of Starbucks, was appointed as lead independent director after joining the board in 2022.
The company did not give a timeline for its eventual IPO. The Journal said it would happen sometime in 2024.
Panera Brands generated more than $4.8 billion in revenue in 2022.
Each restaurant concept is owned by JAB Holding, which purchased Panera for $7.5 billion in 2017 and took it private for the first time. Caribou was acquired for $340 million in 2012, and Einstein Noah Restaurant Group was bought for $374 million in 2014.