SOURCE: Panera Bread

Panera Bread

February 25, 2010 11:33 ET

Panera Bread Recognized as One of the Top Customer Service Leaders by BusinessWeek

Bakery-Cafe Concept Makes Its Debut on 2010 List

RICHMOND HEIGHTS, MO--(Marketwire - February 25, 2010) - Panera Bread® has been named to BusinessWeek's 2010 list of top 25 "Customer Service Champs." Panera was one of only two restaurant concepts to be named in the fourth annual listing and was one of eight companies to appear on the list for the first time in 2010.

BusinessWeek recognized the bakery-cafe chain for its attentiveness to the well-being of its associates. Specifically, the Company was recognized for keeping associate hours steady during the recession while other restaurants cut back. Additionally, the Company was noted for testing a new cash bonus program for hourly workers and for bolstering its long-term management incentives program. The ranking also credited Panera's "happier employees" for creating more repeat customers. This trend helped drive Panera's nine percent comparable store sales growth in the last two and a half months, despite reports by market researcher NPD Group stating a four percent decrease in overall restaurant traffic nationwide.

"This award validates our long-held belief that our associates and their ability to deliver superior customer service are the ultimate points of differentiation in the Panera experience," said Ron Shaich, Panera's Chairman and CEO. "We're pleased that our associates are receiving the credit they deserve for the exceptional customer experience they provide daily in 1,380 bakery-cafes across the country."

To generate the list, Bloomberg BusinessWeek analyzed consumer-provided data about customer satisfaction from J.D. Power & Associates. Bloomberg BusinessWeek looked at the perceived quality of a company's staff and what customers think of its processes. As in past years, Bloomberg BusinessWeek then supplemented J.D. Power's database with its own survey through the BusinessWeek Market Advisory Board. Participants were asked to nominate three companies they felt were best at customer service and three they felt were the worst. More than 1,000 people responded, providing additional data that allowed Bloomberg BusinessWeek to expand the rankings beyond J.D. Power's existing database.

About Panera Bread
Panera Bread Company owns and franchises 1,380 bakery-cafes as of December 29, 2009 under the Panera Bread®, Saint Louis Bread Co.®, and Paradise Bakery & Café® names. With our identity rooted in handcrafted, fresh-baked, artisan bread, we are committed to providing great tasting, quality food that people can trust. Nearly all of our bakery-cafes have a menu highlighted by antibiotic free chicken, whole grain bread, select organic and all-natural ingredients, with zero grams of artificial trans fat per serving, which provide flavorful, wholesome offerings. Our menu includes a wide variety of year-round favorites, complemented by new items introduced seasonally with the goal of creating new standards in everyday food choices. In neighborhoods across this country and in Ontario, Canada, our customers enjoy our warm and welcoming environment featuring comfortable gathering areas, relaxing decor, and free internet access. Our bakery-cafes routinely donate bread and baked goods to community organizations in need. Additional information is available on the Company's website, www.panerabread.com.

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