Panera secures $100 million loan
by Eric Schroeder
ST. LOUIS — Panera Bread Co. has secured a five-year, $100 million term loan from Bank of America, Wells Fargo and TD Bank. Proceeds from the loan will be used for general corporate purposes, including a range of growth initiatives such as the roll-out of Panera 2.0.
Panera 2.0 is a new technology platform that integrates digital ordering, payment and service. Designed to streamline operations, Panera 2.0 offers advanced mobile ordering, tabletop ordering and “fast-lane” kiosks for dine-in and to-go ordering, in addition to cashier stations, to reduce wait time. The digital ordering process allows customers to store customized orders and credit card information for speedier service.
“This modest amount of debt is the next logical step in the evolution of our thinking around capital structure,” said Roger Matthews, chief financial officer. “As we continue to grow our store base, invest in expanded growth opportunities and return capital to shareholders through consistent share repurchase, we expect this debt should allow us to achieve a range of objectives for shareholders. However, nothing has changed in our commitment to maintain modest leverage on the balance sheet as well as significant financial capacity to be opportunistic.”