Panera’s Hard Work Pays Off!

Panera Bakery, the 2,000+ unit chain, just sold to JAB Holdings.  Earlier this week, there was rumor and speculation rippling through the news about a possible sale, but nothing concrete was reported.  Now, though, it is official; JAB purchased Panera for $7.5 billion.

JAB Holding Company is the German investment fund that has, over the past few years, purchased a range of coffee and bakery-focused concepts including Krispy Kreme, Caribou Coffee, Einstein Noah, Peet’s Coffee, Stumptown Coffee, and Intelligentsia Coffee.

Panera Bread was founded in 1987 by Ken Rosenthal in St. Louis and has grown to over $5B in annual sales, primarily under the leadership of CEO Ron Shaich.  Asked about the sale, Shaich said “We weren’t looking for this. Panera’s on an extraordinary run. That performance has been because we always operated in the context of long-term strategy.” Meanwhile, JAB’s chief executive, Olivier Goudet, echoed the same: “We have long admired Ron and the incredible success story he has created at Panera.  I have great respect for the strong business that he, together with its management team, its franchisees and its associates, has built. We strongly support Panera’s vision for the future, strategic initiatives, culture of innovation, and balanced company versus franchise store mix.”

To read more, click here and here.

NYC Restaurants Honor International Women’s Day

Today is March 8, 2017, and International Women’s Day across the globe. As a woman-owned enterprise, TaraPaige Group is excited and proud to be part of the NYC food scene. From India to Iceland, women have taken to the streets to rally, protest, and stand up for equality at home and afar.

In the US, the Day Without A Woman campaign is in full swing. The protest is an effort to “act together for equity, justice and the human rights of women and all gender-oppressed people, through a one-day demonstration of economic solidarity.” Restaurants and cafes across the city are jumping in and participating via donations, changing uniforms to red, and covering shifts for team members that are participating. New York is joined by participants in restaurants in D.C., San Francisco, Denver, and Austin, to name a few.

Additionally, there is a rally taking place at Washington Square Park starting at 4:00PM. To read more about restaurants in NYC that are participating, click here. To read more about demonstration across the world, click here.

Beer Lovers Don’t Mind Waiting in Line


Yesterday the New York Times ran a story highlighting the culture surrounding limited edition beer releases. The author highlights the practices followed by multiple breweries when releasing limited edition beers. Of particular note is the focus on Other Half Brewery located in Gowanus, Brooklyn. The brewery, which is known for its limited edition can release parties, can see people lining up overnight for up to 11 hours just for the chance to buy some beer. Craft beer may be old hat to some at this point, with some arguing that it is a bubble ready to burst, but these breweries show they have a dedicated, loyal fan base willing to wait for simply a taste of their product.


You can read the full article here.

More Problems for Chipotle in the Near Future



As if Chipotle didn’t have enough problems already, the Mexican chain may be dealing with another crisis in the near future. If the 20 percent tariff on Mexican goods proposed by President Donald Trump is implemented, Chipotle could be looking at a major increase in expenses. Mark Kalinowski, an analyst who studies the restaurant industry, writes the chain “likely would bear the biggest brunt” in the entire industry. “Our belief is that the company generally obtains about 70–90% of its avocados from Mexico, all of its limes, the majority of its jalapeños, less than half of its tomatoes, and small amounts of other items (e.g., cilantro),” he estimates. Store sales have already decreased 5 percent again last quarter, the fifth straight that the chain’s reported declines. To read more click here.

Chipotle Predicts it will still Struggle in 4Q




Chipotle announced Tuesday that it expects same-store sales to fall 4.8 percent in the fourth quarter, which is still the best results they’ve seen in five quarters. Chipotle released their preliminary fourth-quarter results ahead of its presentation Tuesday at the ICR Conference in Orlando, FL. The company will release its full fourth-quarter and fiscal 2016 results on February 2. Chipotle’s stock rose more than 4 percent in early trading Tuesday after the announcement of their 4Q same-store sales. Chipotle expects its operating margin to be 13-14 percent in the fourth quarter. The operator said it saw higher expenses in the quarter than originally forecasted. They also spent more on television advertising in the quarter, and that higher avocado costs led to higher-than-expected food costs. To read more about Chipotles same-store sales click here.

The Robotic Chef of the Future


Photo: Grubstreet

We all know incorporating technology into restaurants  is a trend we need to keep up with. Whether it be ordering through an app or having an actual tablet sit at your table so you can order food and pay at your convenience. However, Moley Robotics – a U.K. based company, is taking it to the next level with their robotic chef, Moley. Moley is simply two sleek, humanoid arms that hang above a conventional stovetop. The robot can only make one dish as of right now – crab bisque. The U.K. based company hopes to bring Moley to the market by 2018; with the robot being able to offer more dishes than just crab bisque of course. Moley is projected to cost around $100k by the time it hits the market. To read more about how Moley will actually work click here.

Food Trends: An Art or Science?


Photo: New York Times

It’s a new year which means new foods trends. Every December public relation firms come out with reports that detail what new food trends to look out for this upcoming year. According to Editor in chief Dana Cowin at Food & Wine, “A good trend list requires everything from data and science to pure intuition.”

Annika Stensson, director of research communications for the National Restaurant Association believes the perfect 2017 food trend would be a fast-casual concept serving dishes with deep, heady African flavors. The dishes would be made with locally produced ingredients. Put this African dish into a bowl and you’ve got yourself another 2017 food trend. One of the top items that users post on Pinterest – which is used by 150 million people a month – are Buddha bowls. Food is bowls is pleasing to the eye and makes a great Instagram picture – and who doesn’t love a great Instagram picture? To read more about the trends of 2017 click here.