Friday, December 21, 2018

[CLOSURE ALERT] Panera Bread Shutters in Perimeter Mall

ToNeTo Atlanta has learned that the Panera Bread in Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody has closed.  The bakery cafe, which was located in the mall's first level food court, opened in late 2014 and closed this past Tuesday, December 18.  A second Perimeter mall area Panera Bread remains open in the Super Target anchored Perimeter Place mixed-use development on Olde Perimeter Way across the street.  

ToNeTo Atlanta first reported on the planned Panera opening in August 2014.  At the time, a ToNeTo Atlanta reader foreshadowed the difficulties the cafe would experience in the mall, saying in part:  

"I honestly do not see Panera succeeding in a food court environment. One of the reasons that I go to Panera is because of the quiet environment compared to some places. If I had to go get my food and then wander the food court looking for a chair, this ruins it for me. Panera can be done in a Mall, just not in the food court."

Amazingly, despite superior options available many other places and a now flawed business model, a Sbarro pizza shop that opened in Perimeter Mall's food court in 2017 remains open.  

The Panera in Perimeter Mall is the second location the St. Louis-based bakery cafe chain has closed in metro Atlanta this week.  On Monday December 17, the Panera Bread in Lenox Square closed.  The Lenox location, unlike the Perimeter outpost, was located within the retail portion of the mall, near Macy's, whereas the Perimeter location was alongside other food options in the food court.  

While the Lenox Square location was often busy and reportedly closed to an unwillingness to agree to a new lease with higher rent, the Perimeter location reportedly never met sales expectations and closed due to disappointing revenue, rather than rent cost.  

Panera Bread has in years past closed at least two other mall based locations in metro Atlanta, one in Gwinnett Place Mall in Duluth and the other in Town Center at Cobb in Kennesaw.  The Town Center and Gwinnett Place locations were both like Lenox Square, in that they were located within the mall but outside of the mall's food court area.

Luxembourg-based JAB Holding Company acquired Panera Bread in 2017 in an approximately $7 billion transaction.  Panera, which operates more than 2,000 locations, has ramped up customer conveniences in recent years.  In addition to offering drive-thru windows at some of their newer freestanding restaurants, the chain has also added delivery to make getting its food even easier.  

In metro Atlanta, Panera locations on Athens Highway in Loganville, Woodward Crossing in Buford, Barrett Parkway in Kennesaw  and on the East-West Connector in Austell, among others, all have drive-thru windows.  

At the same time that Panera has added drive-thru to new locations and offered delivery, it has also closed several other locations this year, at least three of which were in malls.  

In March, Panera closed its unit in Oxmoor Center in Louisville, followed by a closure in Walnut Creek, California in May after more than 23 years in business.  Panera closed at Phoenix, Arizona's popular Biltmore Square Park in June and in San Diego's Hillcrest neighborhood in July.  In October, the Panera in Houston's Memorial City Mall closed after 15 years in business.  

It's unclear what, if anything, Perimeter Mall has planned to replace Panera Bread.   

Are you surprised that Panera Bread has closed in Perimeter Mall?  What would you like to see open in place of Panera Bread in Perimeter Mall?  What is your favorite restaurant in/around Perimeter Mall?

Please share your thoughts below  


Jennifer said...

Sad! I enjoyed grabbing take out here when I ran errands at the mall over lunch.

Have you heard anything about the rumored Panera Bread coming to the Lowe's parking lot in Chamblee (next to Zaxby's)? There was a 100+ long thread on Nextdoor with a lot of excitement about it a year ago, they seemingly went through multiple rounds of permitting and approvals with the city of Chamblee, yet there is no sign of anything going up.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised - when I go to Perimeter's food court I always went to Panera or Chick-fil-A. With that said I really don't like Perimeter's food court - way too cramped and loud. As far as my favorite restaurant around Perimrter - love Capital Grill although pricey and Seasons 52.

Unknown said...

Ruby Tuesday's in McDonough closes

Unknown said...

Pollo Tropical mcdonogh closed

ImAndy said...

The perimeter court is very sad everything is so doughy and is DQ even real food? Even Chipotle hasn't performed well. The desert cart thing has to be bleeding money as well. With holiday traffic they're down to one employee that stands around with nothing to do but be on their phone

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