Friday, April 7, 2017

Panera, getting clean and serving up Krispy Kreme

Panera, as you know, is the casual dining, yet healthy, place to eat out (and now with a lot of delivery). Now that we are not so concerned about the salt in the menu (sometimes up to 1,000mg for a meal) it seems Panera is really living the wholesome live and riding the healthfood craze. Early in 2007, Panera was talking about totally cleaning up its already pretty squeaky clean act. (See company press and this WSJ article.)

This WSJ article has a good discussion of the buyout by a private conglomerate JAB of Panera. The company's already well priced stock jumped almost $100 over a couple days to about $310 today. (See PNRA stock trend for a month.) Going private has lots and lots of advantages for a company. There's all the reporting and restrictions of a publicly traded company. Plus, you need to tell investors how you have done and what you plan to do. Surprisingly, competitors read these same annual reports and utilize the public information to their competitive advantage.

Apparently JAB Holdings will allow PNRA to run with relative autonomy, or so believes CEO Ron Shaich. They do expect some synergies with the sister companies, especially when entering other countries.

JAB is a German family owned holding company that has acquired lots of companies including the coffee kup craze of Keurig Green Mountain and the sugary delight of Krispy Kreme.  The coffee thing with K-cups, Peets, Caribou and Mighty Leaf Tea all make a lot of synergy sense. But Krispy Kreme seems like a bit of a head-scratcher.

You know how you have the diet craze with salad at the fast-food restaurant; something for the carnivore and the vegan -- in the off chance they travel together. How about Krispy Kreme at the Panera restaurant; wholesome-healthy and the sinful-decadent? Something for both the angel as well as the devil in the family.

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