Major Panera franchisee buys 34 stores in Missouri, Kansas

Pan American Group LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Flynn Restaurant Group LP, has acquired 34 Panera Bread Bakery-Cafe locations in Kansas and Missouri from Wichita, Kansas-based Original Bread Inc.

The locations include stores in the Kansas City metro area, and Lawrence and Topeka, Kansas. The purchase price was not disclosed.

Pan American Group, which is based in San Francisco, will now be the second-largest Panera Bread franchisee, increasing its unit count from 96 locations to 130.

Original Bread Inc. was founded in 1993 by Randy Simon, Howard Wilkins, Art Anast and Mark Babich. It was the first franchisee of St. Louis Bread, the predecessor to Panera Bread, when it opened a location in Overland Park, then the 19th for the chain, in 1994. It later became one of the largest Panera Bread franchisees with more than 1,300 employees at area restaurants, as well as Panera locations in Manhattan, Wichita, St. Joseph and Sedalia.

The sale of the company was prompted by health issues and the subsequent passing of Wilkins late last year. Wilkins was an early Pizza Hut franchisee and former U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands under President George H.W. Bush.

 

In a statement, Greg Flynn, founder, chairman and CEO of Flynn Restaurant Group, said: “Randy and his partners have built a tremendous business, and we look forward to continuing to deliver the exceptional Panera experiences that Original Bread has provided its guests in Kansas and Missouri for the past 23 years.”

Read more: Kansas City Star, St. Louis Business Journal


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