An idea came to Ronald M. Shaich, the chief executive of Panera Bread, as he was driving his children to school about four years ago: What if everyone could order lunch the way he did?
The Shaich household’s morning routine included a call to the manager of the nearest Panera location to order lunch for Mr. Shaich’s son (Asian sesame chicken salad with half the normal amount of chicken and twice the won ton strips) and daughter (various salads but with dressing on the side).
The family then hopped in the car, stopping on the way to school to pick up the lunches. “It suddenly occurred to me that this was a wonderful system for the C.E.O., but what about the other eight million people who order from Panera?” Mr. Shaich said. Read More