Yum Brands and 7-Eleven franchisee Ampex Brands announced Wednesday the acquisition of bakery-café chain Au Bon Pain from JAB Holding-owned Panera Bread. The deal was finalized on June 29 and includes approximately $60 million in assets, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Ampex Brands acquired all 171 locations of the bakery-café chain, along with the franchising rights to an additional 131 locations, and the deal is expected to grow the newly minted franchisor’s annual revenue by 10%.
Ampex Brands already owns and operates more than 400 locations of Pizza Hut, KFC, Taco Bell, Long John Silver’s and 7-Eleven stores.
“We see a solid future for both Au Bon Pain and our broader portfolio,” Ampex CEO Tabbassum Mumtaz said in a statement. “Our QSR brands performed extraordinarily well throughout the pandemic as guests moved to drive-thru. That performance allowed us to diversify and jump on a great opportunity to reposition a legacy brand. The bakery café category will rebound, and Au Bon Pain is well-positioned to grow.”
Ampex’s plan is to first ramp up Au Bon Pain’s existing cafes in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions before turning to expansion strategies, beginning with corporate stores.
With the acquisition Ampex has appointed former Pizza Hut senior franchise growth leader Ericka Garza as brand president.
“As we open our cafés, Au Bon Pain’s brand reputation, loyal following, strong real estate and menu position the brand favorably for success,” Garza said in a statement. “We also see opportunity in its nontraditional locations, currently in transportation hubs, airports, universities and hospitals. Smaller footprints with less dine-in seating are the future of fast-casual dining and having a successful prototype with long-standing institutional relationships allows for flexibility as we grow.”
Additionally, Brian Bacica has been appointed COO of Au Bon Pain, having previously spent his career in food and beverage roles at Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Parks. Beth Collins was appointed as Ampex Brands’ first global chief marketing officer, having previously held leadership positions at Raising Cane’s, Texas Land & Cattle/Lone Star Steakhouse, Twin Peaks and Lucky Strike Entertainment.
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