Thursday, March 06, 2003

Panera Bread To Open Five More Forbes Avenue Locations

Following the success of the company’s two new Oakland locations this past fall, Panera Bread, Inc. announced this past week that it will open five more stores on Forbes Avenue. The openings are slated to be complete by late August – in time for the fall semester. Panera Bread, a national chain of café/bakeries, opened its doors in the newly constructed Sennott Square building on Forbes Avenue and in the Best Western Hotel on the Boulevard of the Allies in 2002. The five new locations are an attempt by the company to develop a competitive advantage – not just in the bakery market, but as part of Oakland’s restaurant market overall.

“It’s an exciting time for Panera Bread,” began Panera Bread vice president of marketing, Julianne Fein. “Since opening our first two Oakland area locations, Panera Bread has prided itself on serving the University of Pittsburgh community the finest freshly-baked breads and pastries, as well as the best in delicious soups and sandwiches. By opening five new Forbes Avenue locations, we can more easily continue providing the Oakland consumer the highest quality food and service while offering a superior neighborhood emphasis in a comfortable dining environment.”

Some residents have been left wondering what involvement the Oakland Business Improvement District (OBID) had in the additional Panera Bread storefronts.

“The Oakland Business Improvement District is very excited to have such a wonderful Panera Bread presence in the neighborhood,” said Fein, speaking on behalf of OBID, which became a subsidiary of Panera Bread last week. “Our goal is certainly the development of our brand’s recognition.”

And in the development of the neighborhood?

“Sure, yeah... that too.”

“By having seven storefronts in the area, not to mention Panera Hall (formerly Forbes Hall) and our sponsorship of the Panera Bread Graduate School of Business (formerly the Joseph M. Katz School), Panera Bread has solidified itself as the major brand in Oakland, right up there with UPMC.”

While rumors fly about Panera Bread possibly taking control of University-run cafeterias, including all Petersen Event Center concessions, development of the five announced storefronts will commence this summer. Locations include the former CJ Barneys and Schwartz’s Bagels.

Added Fein, “we’re excited to pre-determine your dining needs.”

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