Panera Bread/Au Bon Pain: Ron Shaich (2018)

Ron Shaich is the founder and former chairman and CEO of Panera Bread.
Connor Heckert for NPR
Ron Shaich is the founder and former chairman and CEO of Panera Bread.

Connor Heckert for NPR

In the early 1980s, Ron Shaich bought a small, struggling Boston bakery chain called Au Bon Pain, and built it out to 250 locations nationwide.

Ron then saw an opportunity to build something even bigger: Panera Bread.

It was the start of “fast casual” – a new kind of eating experience, between fast food and restaurant dining.

Today, Panera Bread has over 2,000 stores, and $5 billion in annual sales.

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