Panera Bread exterior Courtesy of Panera Bread

Flynn Restaurant Group acquires 34 Panera restaurants

Purchase from Original Bread gives Flynn 881 total locations

Pan American Group LLC, a subsidiary of giant San Francisco-based franchisee Flynn Restaurant Group, which operates Panera Bread restaurants, has acquired 34 more locations in Kansas and Missouri from Wichita, Kansas-based Original Bread Inc.

The acquisition will give Flynn Restaurant Group a total of 130 Panera Bread units, while expanding the company’s overall portfolio to 881 restaurants in 30 states. The restaurants generate $1.9 billion in sales and employ 42,000 people. 

The deal also represents an exit from Panera operations for the first franchisee of St. Louis Bread Co., Panera’s predecessor.   

Randy Simon, Howard Wilkins, Art Anast and Mark Babich co-founded Original Bread in 1993. The company eventually became one of the largest franchisees in the system. 

“As I look back, I’m truly awed to have been involved in the growth of this dynamic concept,” said Simon, CEO of Original Bread, in a statement. “Our team is confident that Flynn Restaurant Group will carry on our standards of excellence in service and our preeminence in community involvement.”

Flynn Restaurant Group is the largest restaurant franchisee in the U.S. based on total sales, and one of the 50 biggest foodservice companies of any kind. Flynn Restaurant Group is Applebee’s largest franchisee, and Taco Bell’s third-largest operator. 

“Randy and his partners have built a tremendous business,” Greg Flynn, CEO of Flynn Restaurant Group, said in a statement. “The Panera brand has established itself as one of the most successful concepts in the history of the restaurant industry, and we’re especially excited to grow within it.”

Flynn is one of numerous franchisees that continue to grow and add locations through acquisitions, either of other franchisees or of large swaths of restaurants in refranchising deals. As in the Original Bread case, many smaller operators are opting to get out of the business, providing larger franchisees with opportunities to grow.

The result has been a flurry of mergers and acquisitions in the past several years. Flynn Restaurant Group has used numerous acquisitions in both refranchising deals and acquisitions of other franchisees to amass its portfolio.

Contact Jonathan Maze at jonathan.maze@penton.com

Follow him on Twitter: @jonathanmaze

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