Panera Bread’s performance in its third quarter of 2015 showed encouraging results, thanks in part, it seems, to the success of its Panera 2.0 initiative.
The company reported a 7% increase in revenue during Q3 2015. This uptick was primarily attributed to the 3.8% increase in comparable net bakery-café sales, higher fresh dough and other product sales to franchisees, as well as franchise royalties and fees.
Ron Shaich, Chairman and CEO, said in a press release that this was the company’s best performance in nine quarters.
“Our strategic plan to generate increased shareholder value by making Panera a better competitive alternative with runways for expanded growth is working,” he said. “Leading sales indicators are showing just that. Company comp-store sales growth continues to accelerate, rising 3.8% in Q3 and 3.4% for the first 27 days of Q4.”
Panera Bread has made significant headway into its Panera 2.0 initiative, which provides consumers with enhanced “to go” and improved “eat in” options with enhanced in-store technology options for customized ordering, such as fast lane kiosks.
As of fiscal Q3 2015, 291 bakery-cafes have been converted to Panera 2.0, with 108 conversions completed during Q3 and 185 conversions completed year-to-date, according to a press release.
Mike Bufano, Senior Vice President and CFO, said he expects the company to accelerate the rate of investment in the second half of the year, as “leading sales indicators are gaining momentum” and as Panera continues to expect “relatively improved earnings in the fourth quarter when compared to the first half of the year.”
Panera Bread looks to convert approximately 300 company-owned bakery-cafes to Panera 2.0 during fiscal 2015.
Looking ahead to new stores, the company said it plans to open 105 to 115 new bakery cafes in fiscal 2015.
Stay tuned as we keep track of Panera's progress in Q4 2015 and beyond.