Panera Bread Company Swot Analysis

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Strengths of the Organization
This case study identified many strengths Panera Bread has including those dating back to Au Bon Pain Company; however, this section will only identify those strengths associated with the current position of Panera Bread Company. First and foremost is customer service. The company has been awarded with two major customer service awards including the J.D. Power and Associates’ restaurant satisfaction study which ‘‘ranked Panera Bread highest among quick-service restaurants in the Midwest and Northeast regions of the United States in all categories’’ (C-162). Customer loyalty is another key to Panera’s success. Studies from the case show that Panera has a high rate of returning customers once Panera has got them in the door. Panera Bread has a large and diverse menu that has been very well received from the public. In fact, their menu is set up not only to provide healthy and fresh choices but also to accommodate five different dinning times throughout the day including: breakfast, lunch, dinner, ‘chill-out time,’ and light evening fare for eat-in or take-out. The company started with zero debt on its balance sheet in 1999 and had “no long term debt at all” in 2006 (C-170). Weaknesses of Panera Bread Co.

One weakness Panera Bread has in relation to other companies in the same market is that Panera does not provide a faster pick-up and take-away option (a drive through) like most other quick-service restaurants have. Since most Panera Bread’s are found in strip shopping centers the locations can be difficult to find for travelers or those unfamiliar with the area. The case study also described the difficulties in obtaining a franchise with the company. There are many criteria one must meet before becoming eligible for a franchise. In addition to the expensive upstart costs, extensive experience in multi-unit restaurant management, and real estate knowledge, after obtaining a franchise and opening locations in line with all of corporate management’s requests, the corporate offices can purchase your location from you at a pre-determined price for no reason other than to add to the number of corporate owned locations. Panera Bread’s commitment to freshness could potentially serve as a weakness if one of their dough distribution centers were temporarily unable to produce the required amount of fresh dough for the locations it serves. Whether this be a processing issue or if the company was unable to use a key ingredient because of food recalls or if an ingredient became more limited in supply, the company would struggle to provide its full menu. Opportunities in the Environment

The biggest opportunity the case study presented was the untapped markets that Panera could potentially expand to including large U.S. cities and in the international markets. Exhibit three on page C-166 of the case study shows the markets where Panera Bread has limited or no presence. Each of these cities provides potential opportunities for the company. With Panera’s high rate of return, in the sense of customers returning to the restaurant once they have tried it once, the company needs to strive to get more first time customers in the door. To do this they need to “raise the quality of awareness . . . and boost trial dinning at multiple meal times” (C-169). In addition to getting first time customers the company also needs to strive to get customers to come in for meals that they usually do not eat at Panera. For example, the case explained that most individuals who come in for lunch will only consider Panera Bread Company as an option for lunch. What the company needs to strive for is to get those individuals who usually come in for lunch to consider stopping by in the morning for a fresh pastry and a premium roast coffee or swing by on their way home from work to pick up dinner and bring it home to the family. As before mentioned in the difficulties of obtaining a franchise the company has...
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