Panera Bread to increase number of restaurants with drive-thru windows, table service in bid to improve competitiveness; company expects 7%-7.5% rise in same-store sales year-over-over in 2012

LOS ANGELES , February 9, 2012 () – Executives at Panera Bread Co. announced that, in a bid to improve competitiveness, the company planned to increase the number of restaurants with drive-thru windows and table service, Nation’s Restaurant News reported Feb. 8.

The chain had a total of 119 restaurants with drive-thrus at the end of 2011. In 2012, 50 out of the 115-120 new Panera locations will have drive thrus, and 25 locations will be converted to include drive-thrus.

Panera President and CEO William W. Moreton said that 214 Panera locations — including 132 company bakery-cafés — currently offer table delivery.

The company said that it expects same-store sales growth year-over-year of 7%-7.5% in 2012. During the fourth quarter of 2011, same stores sales increased 5.9% and 3.2%, respectively, at company-owned and franchised units year-over year.

Moreton said that, thus far, comparable-store sales during the first quarter of 2012 had increased 8.9% in comparison to the same period the previous year.

Panera reported that fourth-quarter earnings in 2011 increased from US$36.5 million to $38.6 million year-over-year. Revenue during this same period increased 15.8% from $428.2 million to $495.8 million year-over-year.

The company spent 32% more on advertising in 2011 in comparison to 2010. During this period, systemwide sales increased from 1.1% to 1.3% year-over-year.

Moreton indicated that, in 2012, Panera intended to increase the amount of money spent on advertising by 26% in comparison to 2011, and boost systemwide sales from 1.3% to 1.5% year-over-year.

Panera operates a total of 1,541 restaurants.

The primary source of this article is Nation’s Restaurant News, New York, New York, on Feb. 8, 2012.

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