Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Panera Bread Wants a Slice of Midtown

St. Louis, Missouri-based Panera Bread to open new bakery cafe in midtown.

With over 30 locations in metro Atlanta, Panera Bread is one of the largest out of town fast casual eateries in Atlanta.  In recent years, the chain has added new locations to Loehmann's Plaza near North Druid Hills & Briarcliff Roads, Powers Ferry Square in North Buckhead and Ansley Mall in midtown.  The restaurant also has a location nearing completion in Kennesaw on Ernest Barrett Parkway.  In Kennesaw, Panera and nearby Jason's Deli will both include a drive-thru, an unheard of feature in the fast casual segment years ago, but something that is becoming increasingly popular.   For its part, Seattle-based Starbucks recently announced that 60% of their planned 1500 store openings over the next five years will have a drive thru.

Panera Bread at the 12th & Midtown project will open adjacent to the Bank of America branch in the street level retail at 1010 Midtown.  The restaurant is slated to open later this summer and will join newcomer Mi Cocina on the front portion of the building and Rí Rá, RA Sushi and Piola on the back and side of the project.  Ironically, NOON Midtown, which opened near RA Sushi in the first quarter of 2009 and offered sandwiches, soups and salads, (basically the same menu as Panera) closed in early January of 2011.  NOON, a local restaurant, with slightly higher prices than Panera, but also undoubtedly higher quality, was located in what many would call a terrible location.  With NOON on Crescent Avenue, hidden from the many eyes of Peachtree Street, it failed to attract the customers necessary to sustain itself.  It will be very interesting to see how Panera fares with such desirable Peachtree Street visibility.  Other than mall-based locations at Gwinnett Place Mall in Duluth and Town Center Mall in Kennesaw, I don't recall any other Panera Bread locations closing in Atlanta.

What are your thoughts?  Will Panera succeed or will they fail?  What would you like to see open next in midtown?  Please share your thoughts below.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

They closed their Pavillions at East Cobb location just recently.

Dan said...

I'm sure this will be a success, love how the 12th and Midtown project is really taking shape!

With the new apartments at 7712th just months from opening and the existing office and residential of 1010 they have enough local foot-fall....never mind the fact its right on Peachtree.

Anonymous said...

Noon was also only opened for lunch

Anonymous said...

How about a Panera Bread DOWNTOWN?, near the Hard Rock on Peachtree Street. People actually still work downtown and there is a complete lack of dining options and plenty of empty spaces littering Peachtree downtown.

AJ said...

Atlanta Bread Company went out of business downtown. That likely doesn't help with enticing Panera to open!

Anonymous said...

There are HUNDREDS of places to eat Downtown! Have you not been to Underground, CNN Center, Broad Street, or Peachtree Center?! You will never go hungry! Panera would be good downtown on Broad Street, though.

Anonymous said...

Hello? Just exactly where ARE all of these supposedly empty spaces Downtown on Peachtree? Ever try going to the Corner Bakery across from the Hyatt, or Max Lagers across from SunTrust Plaza? They are absolutely packed at lunch, sometimes with a substantial wait!