What's Gone Stale at Panera Bread?

Source: Panera.

Something isn't working right at Panera Bread (NASDAQ: PNRA  ) these days. Sales growth is down, transaction volumes are dipping, and the company is seeing customers walk out of many of its locations during peak traffic hours.

In the video below, Fool contributor Demitrios Kalogeropoulos argues that Panera's issue isn't with its brand or its food. Instead, the company has created a major operational challenge for itself: It has overwhelmed its kitchen with complex menu options and has swamped its staff with an inefficient to-go ordering system. Of course, competition from the likes of Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX  ) isn't helping matters.

Still, Panera wouldn't be having these operational issues if it weren't attracting record numbers of customers to its stores, Demitrios says. And that should give the company a much-needed boost as it works to get its throughput levels back up to par.

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Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (1)

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  • Report this Comment On October 31, 2013, at 9:14 AM, broknrekord3 wrote:

    And this is why Panera is on my 'to buy' list, once my freakin' wedding finally gets paid off. Panera will get its act together eventually; they've got the branding and the food, now they just need to tweak.

  • Report this Comment On October 31, 2013, at 10:36 AM, Don wrote:

    Apparently business is bad for the Panera people.

    I have nothing to comment about that.

    I do have a comment about the Panera bread.

    In my humble opinion, the Panera breads are excellent.

  • Report this Comment On October 31, 2013, at 11:23 AM, Angela wrote:

    Some serious thought should be given to the decline in Panera's cleanliness. I was an avid regular--for years...but I stopped going--primarily, because of the dirty restrooms, sticky-dirty tables, and dirty floors. I've written to Panera and have talked to local managers. On the one hand, the recent news articles mention the staff is swamped with the new menu items, but in reality, you see the staff standing around chatting while no one is tending to the dining room. The store management is lax, and the staff are disinterested in the customer experience.

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