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Panera Bread is a chain of cafe-bakery restaurants located throughout the United States. They sell breads, sandwiches, soups, salads, bakery items, and organic foods; some locations offer dinner pizzas. Other items include a wide variety of coffees, hot chocolates, and smoothies.  All of their stores have comfy chairs for customers to sit and read or eat their baked goods and sandwiches. A large percentage of their restaurants also have free internet access. Panera is considered a "fast casual" restaurant and offers catering as well. It is headquartered in Saint Louis, Missouri.

In 1993, Au Bon Pain Co. purchased the Saint Louis Bread Company, which was founded by Ken Rosenthal. At the same time, the St. Louis Bread Company was renovating its 20 bakery-cafés in the St. Louis area.

In May 1999, to expand Panera Bread into a national restaurant, Au Bon Pain Co. sold its other chains, including Au Bon Pain, which is now owned by Compass Group North America. Au Bon Pain Co. then renamed itself Panera Bread. The company operates or franchises 1,272 Panera Bread bakery-cafés in 40 states and 17 facilities that deliver fresh dough to the bakery-cafés every day. Panera Bread's CEO is Ron Shaich.

In its headquarters city of St. Louis, Panera Bread still operates under the name St. Louis Bread Company. The St. Louis metropolitan area has over 50 locations.

In 2005, Panera ranked 37th on BusinessWeek's list of "Hot Growth Companies", earning $38.6 million with a 42.9% increase in profits.

Panera Bread expanded into Canada, beginning in 2008 with Richmond Hill and Mississauga, both in the Toronto area.

On January 25, 2008, a class action lawsuit was filed against Panera Bread on behalf of investors who bought company stock between November 1, 2005 and July 26, 2006, alleging that Panera Bread failed to disclose material adverse facts about the company's financial well-being, business relationships, and prospects.

In a 2008 Health magazine study, Panera Bread was judged America's most healthy fast food restaurant.

In 2009, the restaurant review service Zagat named Panera one of the most popular restaurants for eating on the go. Panera was also rated #1 for Best Healthy Option, Best Salad, and Best Facilities, among restaurants with less than 5,000 locations.

Most locations offer free wireless Internet (Wi-Fi) access to customers. Panera operates the largest free wireless network in the United States. This service includes SonicWALL Internet filtering, which queries a central database before blocking or allowing access by category; the filter has been known to incorrectly categorize sites. Many locations restrict the duration of free wi-fi during peak hours to 30 or 60 minutes.

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review by . June 19, 2010
posted in The Bluff
Whether it's the Panera by Trader Joe's in Westchester or the one in the Marina, it never lets me down. I could go to Panera for breakfast, lunch and dinner however breakfast is my all time favorite. I used to only go there for lunch and get a different amazing salad every time, but one time I decided to go for breakfast and it has now become my favorite spot for anything blueberry.      The first time I went for breakfast I got coffee and a blueberry bagel. Unlike bagels …
review by . September 24, 2009
posted in Dining Out
Panera 4
OK, I admit it.  I'm addicted to carbs.  I know they are not good for me but what the heck.  I don't smoke or drink or do drugs.  Something is going to kill me and it just might be bread.  Since Panera Bread opened in our town a few years back my wife and I have become increasingly partial to this place.  After all, what's not to like?  This chain of bakery-cafes offers the most comfortable and inviting environment around.  …
Quick Tip by . October 09, 2010
For fast food this is amazingly good and pretty healthy.
review by . August 11, 2010
The closest Panera to my residence is about 25 miles, but my wife and I go there on a regular basis, mainly to pick up a baker's dozen of bagels. Since we can't get genuine New York City bagels in our area, Panera has second best, and certainly the best we can get! Additionally, they offer really good food at reasonable prices, and food that tends to be good for you. They also sell baked goodies that probablyaren't good for you but just taste terrific! Their bread is excellent also, …
Quick Tip by . July 16, 2010
I love going to Panera because I know the food will be delicious, the atmosphere relaxing, and I can get in and out quickly. They are always consistent, and I absolutely LOVE the bread bowls. Yummy!
Quick Tip by . July 01, 2010
Love Panera bread!
Quick Tip by . June 26, 2010
Panera has opened up a shop that is an honor system pay place. Those who cannot afford to eat, can eat for free, or what they can afford. Hopefully people will not take advantage, but this is a good thing ! Look them up on yahoo news.
review by . March 02, 2009
It's got more ambiance than Starbucks (and more food, too.) Despite the fact that it's a chain, Panera does a fabulous job at making every location feel like you're stopping into a local neighborhood cafe, complete with a fireplace and warm decor. The menu offers a nice combination of fabulous and sandwiches, soups, and salads that are several steps up from fast food joints...and probably healthier, too. They also boast a wealth of bakery items like breads, pastries, coffee drinks, and teas as well. …
Quick Tip by . September 04, 2009
Mmmmm, love their bagels, breakfast souffles and baked potato soup! So craving the latter right now.
Quick Tip by . September 04, 2009
Panera Bread Company cafes....great sandwiches, delicious soups...fast service, locations across the country...one of my favorites...
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