Panera Bread Co. (PNRA) Catering and Pasta Attract Increasingly Confident Consumers

March 14, 2013

Panera Bread Co. (PNRA) continues catering and benefiting from recovering confidence by their business customers, and the fast casual restaurant has now introduced a pasta product that can help gain more dinner customers, says Stephen Anderson, Analyst at Miller Tabak + Co., LLC.

“We just added Panera to our ‘buy’ list several weeks ago. I think they continue to do the right things. Catering continues to be a driver for them, and also I think this is a macro story; as more businesses start to get a little more confidence, they’ll do more catering in house,” Anderson said.

Anderson says fast casual restaurants such as Panera will continue to be a winning category. He says that, in addition to having the ability to offer higher-quality food at a lower price, customers perceive these restaurants as having a halo effect with higher healthiness standards than peers. Moreover, PNRA is expanding and growing its customer base with new products.

“In recent years, I think Panera has almost become synonymous with catering with its sandwiches and soups; I think the introduction of pasta is going to help out in that regard as well. It’s a product that carries well on a catering basis and also provides an opportunity potentially to gain a couple more dinner customers on the margin,”Anderson said.