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ST. LOUIS, MO – With an even better margin of support than Egypt's most recent 96.1 percent election win of its general, Panera Bread announced last Thursday that a hundred percent of the brand's franchise owners have committed to use Panera's new e-commerce platform. It will serve as the backbone of what the franchisor is calling "Panera 2.0". The franchising firm of fast casual bakery-cafes says that franchise owners have committed to pay Panera for a new equipment upgrade as well as its ongoing requirement for each franchisee to reimburse Panera for their fair share of development and maintenance costs.
"We are very pleased that our franchisees have unanimously embraced 2.0," commented Ron Shaich, founder, chairman and CEO of Panera, a chain of 1,800 bakery-cafes in 45 states and Canada. "For the past two years, we have shared this vision with our franchisees, allowing them to be both informed and aligned. They asked hard questions. The fact that we received their commitments less than six weeks after making the formal request underscores how supportive they are of our initiatives."
Tom Howley, the franchise chairman of the "Bread Council" and a Panera franchisee based in Connecticut, commented: "The Panera franchisee community is very supportive of the moves Panera is making into eCommerce and the broader vision around Panera 2.0. Our focus as a brand has always been on long-term value creation and this will allow Panera to sustain future growth by creating a better customer experience." The "Bread Council" is a group elected by franchisees, which discusses strategic matters with the company.
Panera expects to have its Rapid Pick-Up system enabled by its mobile app and web apps in place by the end of 2014. The full Panera 2.0 system is expected to be rolled out to approximately 100 cafes by the end of 2014.