Panera President says we are living in a ‘post Chipotle’ world

Panera versus Chipotle - Post Chipotle world

Panera has reported same-store sales increases of 4.7% in the first quarter with reported revenue growing 6% to $685.1 million, up from $648.5 million the same quarter last year.

CEO Ron Shaich said during the company’s earnings call on Wednesday: “I’ve been looking forward to this earnings call for some time. By every criteria, our first quarter has been among the most exciting we’ve seen at Panera in a very long time.”

While Chipotle revenue fell 23.4% to $834.5 million, with same-store sales dropping nearly 30%, Panera has continued to attract more customers to its selection of ever expanding and rotating food choices.

Data shows that many of the customers that ate at Chipotle in recent months have begun visiting Panera more frequently, helping boost sales at the chain.

“We live in a post-Chipotle world, where there is an elevated focus on food safety at all restaurants,” Panera President Drew Madsen said in the company’s earnings call.

Panera recently announced that it was cutting dozens of artificial ingredients from its menu.

The company is even rolling out new food safety initiatives to make sure it doesn’t run into the E. coli and norovirus issues that have plagued Chipotle in recent months.

“A major part of our brand promise is being an ally for wellness that our customers trust to help them eat the way they want to eat,” said Madsen. “Obviously, food safety is a critical piece of that commitment.”

The company is also rolling out Panera 2.0, a digital initiative that adds kiosks where customers can order and pay.