Panera Bread Franchise: How Much Will It Cost to Open in 2022?

Are you curious about the true cost of a Panera Bread franchise? The franchise is for opening and running a Panera Bread Bakery-Cafe that sells baked goods, smoothies, coffee drinks, and other related items. The costs and fees for a Panera Bread Bakery-Café franchise are covered in full in this article.

Panera Bread Franchise

About Panera Bread Franchise

The Panera Bread franchise’s guiding principle is to provide customers with high-quality meals in a welcoming environment.

Panera Bread focuses on serving up freshly prepared meals including sandwiches and fresh bread. Since its founding in 1987, the business has grown to over 2,000 locations across North America.

In addition to serving high-quality food, Panera Bread is renowned for its welcoming environment for families.

Since Panera Bread is a well-known and prosperous business, potential franchisees can be sure that they are partnering with a trustworthy company.

Cost of a Panera Bread Franchise

You must have a $7,500,000 net worth and a minimum of ,000,000 in liquid assets in order to open a Panera Bread franchise.

You’ll also be required to pay a $35,000 franchise fee. Typically, a Panera Bread franchise requires an initial investment of between $942,200 and $1,600,000.

Liquid Cash Needs: $3,000,000 and Above

Investment amount: $942,200 to $1,600,000.

$35,000 is the initial franchise fee.

Panera Bread Franchise Fee

The monthly franchise fee for Panera Bread is equal to 5% of gross sales. The cost of the many services and assistance that Panera Bread offers its franchisees is partially covered by this fee.

Then there is a further monthly price for advertising and promotion, which varies.

Permanent Royalty Fee: 5%

Ad Royalty Payment: Variable

How to Start ‍Panera Bread Franchise

What you must do if you want to open a Panera Bread franchise is as follows:

How to Start ‍Panera Bread Franchise

Make Certain You Have Enough Capital

You need to have at least $3,000,000 in liquid assets if you want to start a Panera Bread franchise.

Make certain you have sufficient Experience

Franchisees of Panera Bread are required to have prior business experience. It is logical. Starting a successful franchise requires a sizable initial investment and a lot of work.

Analyze the Market’s Accessibility

Panera Bread franchises are available in numerous locations across the world. Before moving forward with the franchise application, you should investigate the market conditions in your particular area of interest and see whether there are any opportunities.

Panera Bread Franchise Requirements

When you register to become a franchise operator with Panera Bread, certain costs and fees are required.

There are some requirements you have to meet to start your own ‍Panera Bread franchise:

  • Business Experience
  • Business plan
  • Good credit history
  • And, of course, at least ‍$3,000,000 in liquid cash
Fees / ExpensesFinancial Amount
Liquid Capital$ 3 million
Net Worth$ 7.5 million
Total Investment$ 1,117,000 to $3,464,000
Franchise Fee$ 35,000

When it comes to franchising Panera Bread, you should also be aware of the 5% of net sales royalty charge and the 2.6% of net sales national advertising fund.

It should be noted that Panera Bread does not offer single-unit franchises. They would prefer applicants to manage several locations totaling 15 bakery-cafés in six years.

As a corporate franchise, that’s not always a negative thing because operators are more likely to survive challenging times in the industry if they are better capitalized.

The business is seeking the following qualities in a potential owner, in addition to money.

  • Must have previous restaurant management experience.
  • Regarded as one of the best restaurant owners.
  • Possesses the infrastructure and resources necessary to accomplish its growth schedule.
  • Possesses enthusiasm and cultural fit.
  • Firmly believes in expanding the Panera Bread brand.
  • Has knowledge of real estate.

Average Annual Sales or Revenue

Interestingly, sales at Panera Bread now bring in billions of dollars annually. Sales have been steadily increasing since 2009, however Panera Bread sales were negatively impacted by the pandemic that struck in 2020.

Sales decreased from $5.890 billion in 2019 to $5.350 billion in 2020. Over this time, there was a -10.5% change in sales.

Facts About the Panera Franchise

Total UnitsOver 2,000
Incorporated NamePanera Bread
Franchising Since1990
IndustryFast Casual Restaurant
SubsectorBakery, Food and Beverage

The origins of Panera Bread can be traced back to a Boston cookie bakery in 1981. Then Ron Shaich joined with Au Bon Pain, another French bakery.

Shaich bought St. Louis Bread Company in the 1990s and changed its name to Panera Bread after deciding to concentrate on a market that offered “more than manufactured fast food.”

It should be noted that Shaich was much ahead of his time when he developed the idea of fresh, healthful meals.

Panera Bread Franchise Benefits

You can be certain to anticipate a lot of benefits from this bakery establishment given its well-known name, Panera Bread. Here are some benefits that you might anticipate if you choose to operate a franchise.

Providing Wholesome Goods

The fact that Panera Bread provides healthful options is well known. Compared to other fast food restaurants in the US, they provide more vegetables.

Additionally, they support eating “clean,” which means avoiding adding any unhealthful foods or additions to meals.

To fit them within your healthy daily calorie budget, you must still check the calories. However, Panera Bread’s menu selections are undoubtedly superior to those of other fast-casual restaurant chains, which frequently provide greasy food.

Reward System

One of the most extensive customer loyalty programs is offered by Panera Bread, as was already mentioned.

These initiatives are not a need for every company, but they do encourage clients to patronize them frequently.

Customers that are brand loyal are also rewarded with complimentary goodies. You should have no trouble marketing a Panera Bread in your neighborhood with a rewards scheme like this.

Fresh Designs

Even though the epidemic caused a decline in revenue, Panera Bread is continuing to innovate. Instead, they’ve spent time enhancing online ordering and pick up.

With their new Panera Bread restaurant designs, which will have drive-through lanes, they are even making things more convenient for their customers.

The size of the stores is also said to have decreased from the customary 4,300 square feet to 3,500 square feet, however this is due to an increase in speedy pick-ups rather than in-store eating. But Panera Bread will also “improve that experience” if dining-in resumes in the future.

Panera Bread Franchise Challenges

Since business is business, there will always be difficulties. Here are a few of them that Panera Bread offers.

Program for Limited Rewards

As was already said, Panera Bread has one of the most coveted loyalty programs because it rewards its patrons with free delights and even streamlines the ordering process.

Your rewards card can only be used at participating Panera Bread stores, according to their website’s frequently asked questions. You will need to inquire once you arrive as they have not specified which locations take part in their program.

In the future, Panera Bread will be able to take all reward cards, making it easier for more of their customers to participate in the program.

Conflict and Litigation

Several lawsuits have been filed against Panera Bread in the past. A $4.6 million overtime lawsuit was filed against the chain.

They were also accused of discriminating against religion. Such litigation may have an effect on Panera Bread’s brand name.

And even if everything is going well and your store is following all the rules, customers might be unable to help but think of the lawsuits that have been filed against it, which will harm its reputation.

Multiple Places

Since Panera Bread prohibits single unit franchising, you would need to be ready to support 15 bakery cafés.

If this is too much for you, you might need to work in collaboration with others to manage the chores. Additionally, it’s possible that franchising is not offered in your location.

History of Panera Bread

Panera evolved rather than being truly formed. Both the Au Bon Pain Co., Inc. and the St. Louis Bread Co. gave rise to Panera.

Panera Bread Franchise

The name “Panera” was also created by the management in the same year.

While keeping the Panera name and company, Au Bon Pain Co., Inc. sold its bakery-café business unit in 1999. The company was thereafter renamed “Panera Bread Company” by the executives.

In 2007, Phoenix-based Paradise Bakery & Café, which at the time had more than 70 locations, was acquired by Panera Bread for the majority of its shares.

Since then, Panera has kept buying well-known establishments dedicated to offering healthful dishes in a welcoming environment and transforming them into some of the nation’s most adored café-bakeries.

Reasons to Choose Panera Bread 

While keeping its commitment to offering healthful dishes in a posh yet pleasant setting, Panera continues to innovate and grow.

Although practical, it never compromises on its goal to offer foods that people may feel good about eating.

These elements work together to make Panera Bread a well-liked meal option in today’s society, which is becoming more health-conscious.

Options besides Opening a Panera Franchise

You might also wish to take into account the following top fast-casual restaurants that also sell franchises:

Moe’s Southwest Grill

The name Moe’s Southwest Grill was originally an abbreviation for musicians, outlaws, and entertainers when it was established by Raving Brands in Atlanta, Georgia, in December 2000.

Along with Schlotzsky’s, Carvel, Cinnabon, McAlister’s Deli, Jamba, and Auntie Anne’s, it is a member of Focus Brands’ portfolio of brands.

Moe’s serves burritos, tacos, quesadillas, nachos, salads, stacks, burrito bowls, and house-made seasonal salsas as part of its menu.


An American restaurant franchise called Applebee’s specializes in informal eating and serves salads, chicken, spaghetti, burgers, and “riblets.”

With $3.1B in sales and a 12.2% market share in casual dining, it is one of the biggest casual dining brands in the world.

Undoubtedly, with 31 franchisees owning an average of nearly 50 stores, Applebee’s is more than 95% franchised.

Jersey Mike’s

Jersey A large selection of made-to-order hot sandwiches, additional sandwiches, and associated food items and beverages are available for consumption both on- and off-site at Mike’s Franchise Restaurant.

From 1956 to 2002, the business operated under the name “Mike’s Submarines” before changing to Jersey Mike’s.

As an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems, Inc., Sub Above LLC was established in 2019.

In Summary

The mission of the Panera franchise is to provide satisfying food that is beneficial for both the environment and its consumers in each of its bakery-cafés.

They have severe requirements that prospective franchisees must meet. Candidates must have a track record of running multiple restaurants and be regarded as a premier restaurateur.

The ideal candidate must be completely dedicated to the growth of the Panera Bread brand and have a love for freshly baked bread.

Frequently Asked Questions

$35,000 is the initial franchise fee.

The company’s annual income and location count are also reliable signs that it is the most lucrative franchise to buy. A respected business like McDonald’s might be able to access fresh funding and commercial opportunities. Due to the larger net worth it offers, it is preferable to invest in a company.

The Covelli family switched to Panera Bread franchises and is currently the brand’s largest franchisee with more than 300 stores across 8 states.

When a franchisee enters into a franchise agreement and becomes a franchisee, they often make an initial payment to the franchisor. According to the FTC Rule, this fee can be any sum above $500 and typically falls between $20,000 and $50,000.

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