It’s not yet clear how this morning’s announcement that Panera is being bought out by Belgium-based JAB Holding Co. — a rival of Starbucks that owns or has a big stake in Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Caribou Coffee Co. and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts — will impact the chain’s 13 Dayton-area cafés.
But here are five things to know about our Dayton- and Springfield-area Paneras:
• The 13 Panera Bread restaurants in the Dayton-Springfield area are not operated by Panera directly, but rather, by Warren, Ohio-based Covelli Enterprises, which is the largest franchisee of Panera Bread cafes in the U.S. Covelli oversees more than 300 Panera locations in six states.
• Covelli Enterprises has been in the Dayton market only since 2014, when it announced that it had purchased what were then 11 Panera locations.
• At the time, Covelli said it had big expansion plans for the Dayton-area market, and in 2016, it put its money behind those plans buy opening two new locations, in Englewood and in Huber Heights.
• Just a month ago, Panera awarded Covelli Enterprises the “Franchisee of the Year” designation, which is given to a franchise company based on its operational excellence, market growth, café openings, market acquisitions and financial performance.
• Covelli and all 13 of its local Panera restaurants are in the midst of a one-week fund-raiser in which special Puzzle Piece Shortbread cookies will be available through Sunday, April 9 — with 100 percent of the proceeds from each cookie sold donated to the Dayton Children’s Hospital autism diagnostic center.
This news outlet reached out to a Covelli Enterprises spokeswoman this morning in an attempt to gauge the impact the buyout of Panera will have on its largest franchisee, but the spokeswoman declined comment, referring questions to Panera’s St. Louis-based corporate office.