How Restaurant Visionary Ron Shaich is Tackling America's Hunger Crisis

In a recent in-depth interview with Ron Shaich, Founder, Chairman and co-CEO of Panera Bread, we discussed the Panera Cares initiative, through which the Panera Bread Foundation created nonprofit community cafes aimed at addressing issues related to food insecurity. We also discussed balancing profit with purpose, the secret behind the success of their community cafes, leadership lessons learned along the way, why businesses more broadly should harness their core competencies against a societal ill, and much more.

Thirty years ago, Ron Shaich set out to change the world by changing the way America eats. He’s done that with not one, but two successful restaurant brands. By co-founding Au Bon Pain, Co. Inc. and founding Panera Bread, Shaich shook up the industry by offering an antithesis to fast food – hand made, artisan food served in warm and welcoming environments by people you can trust. Today, Panera Bread serves in excess of 7 million people a week, employs over 60,000 people and is a leader in the restaurant space.

Under Shaich’s direction, Panera has been the second best performing restaurant stock when measured over the last decade (ending August 17, 2012) and the second best performing consumer stock on the S&P consumer index when measured over that same decade. Today, Shaich serves as Panera Bread’s Chairman and co-CEO. Having made his name as an entrepreneur who grew his business into a national chain of nearly 1,600 bakery cafes in 40 states and Canada with a $4.5 billion market cap, Shaich remains focused on building a company of quality over the long term.

Shaich also serves as President of the Panera Bread Foundation and recently spearheaded the Panera Cares initiative, through which the Foundation created nonprofit community cafes aimed at addressing issues related to food insecurity. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Lown Cardiovascular Research Foundation and on the Board of the Rashi School. Shaich formerly served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Clark University. He is also a co-founder of No Labels, a political organization aimed at reducing hyper-partisanship and improving problem-solving in politics. Read More

Posted on September 18, 2012 and filed under Fast Casual.