In a major merger announced Thursday, Panera Bread joined forces with Caribou Coffee and Einstein Bros. Bagels to form Panera Brands.
The new group includes more than 4,000 fast-casual restaurants. The pact sent reverberations throughout the fast-growing fast-casual industry segment, impacting 110,000 employees across 10 countries.
“We believe Panera Bread, Caribou Coffee, and Einstein Bros. Bagels together will leverage each company’s unique expertise and services to build an unrivaled fast casual platform with a tremendous runway for growth,” said Niren Chaudhary, who was appointed group CEO of Panera Brands, in a press release.
No financial details regarding the merger were disclosed.
Panera Bread, which has seen its business recover to pre-pandemic levels according to company officials, has a total of 2,100 locations. Minnesota-based Caribou Coffee boasts 713 stores in 10 countries. Einstein Bros., meanwhile, operates 1,005 stores consisting of Einstein Bros. Bagels, Bruegger’s Bagels, Noah’s New York Bagels, and Manhattan Bagel.
While Chaudhary, the CEO of Panera Bread, will lead Panera Brands, John Butcher, CEO of Caribou, and Jose Alberto Duenas, the CEO of Einstein Bros., will retain their roles and report to Chaudhary.
The press release also indicated that Panera Brands will now be in a unique position to “turbocharge” the growth of both Caribou and Einstein Bros.
“The creation of Panera Brands enables us to work smarter together,” Butcher said.