PANERA BREAD PUTS ACCOUNT IN REVIEW

Spending to Increase to $20 Million

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- After shaking up its marketing leadership, Panera Bread Co. has put its estimated $20 million advertising account into review.
Before rebranding itself, Panera was known as Au Bon Pain.

The St. Louis-based company, which serves made-to-order sandwiches in the so-called quick-casual fast-food category, last year named branding consultant Michael Markowitz as its chief brand officer.

$4 million in 2004
Panera spent $4 million in measured media last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence, but executives familiar with the review said spending is expected to be as much as $20 million.

The incumbent, St. Louis-based Core, is not defending the business, according to an executive familiar with the review. A Core executive did not immediately have any comment.

Last month, Panera reported that same-store sales were up 6.4%. As of December, it operated 226 company-owned bakery cafes and 515 franchise-operated locations in 35 states.

Review consultant AAR Partners
A Panera spokesman declined to comment. Executives at New York-based AAR Partners, which is managing the review, did not return calls.

Panera was founded as Au Bon Pain in 1981. In 1993, the company purchased a 20-store chain called the St. Louis Bread Co. and eventually rebranded them as Panera Bread. In May 1999, the company renamed itself Panera Bread and sold off the rest of its units.

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Lisa Sanders contributed to this report.