As one of the leaders behind the fast-casual bakery and cafe concept, Ron Shaich has transformed the way America dines with his finger-on-the-pulse insights on the restaurant business and instinctive ability to know what the customer wants.
In 1981, Shaich co-founded Au Bon Pain Co., Inc. and Panera Bread, the two most successful bakery-cafe brands in the country. For more than 20 years, Shaich, now Executive Chairman of the Board of Panera Bread, served as Chief Executive Officer. In 2012, Shaich stepped back in as co-CEO, where he envisions long-range strategy in food product and cafe experience innovation.
A lot of people think, if you do nothing, you will stay at zero. But the reality is, if you do nothing, you’ll be at a negative. – Ron Shaich
Under Shaich’s leadership, Panera currently operates or franchises more than 1,560 locations in North America, with sales topping $3 billion. In the past decade as CEO, Shaich has built Panera into the 6th largest publicly traded U.S. restaurant company, with the best performing restaurant stock.
Shaich has also dedicated his career to making a difference in the community. In 2010 as part of his role as President of the Panera Bread Foundation, he launched the Panera Cares “pay-what-you-want” cafe concept out of his concern for providing access to food to those in need.
With more than 30 years of restaurant business experience, Shaich brings a established, inherent understanding of the consumer dining marketplace. A passionate visionary and lively speaker, he shares insights on the hallmarks of customer service and corporate citizenship as well as brand innovation in the food business, and how it all adds up to customer loyalty and shareholder value.