BETHESDA, MD. — An exclusive, multi-year, multi-unit development agreement between Panera Bread Co. and global restaurateur HMSHost will expand Panera’s presence into U.S. airports and travel plazas. Bethesda-based HMSHost, part of the Autogrill Group, initially will debut Panera restaurants in two airports in 2020: Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina and the Salt Lake City International Airport. The restaurants will feature Panera items such as salads, sandwiches, soups and bread bowls as well as grab-and-go versions of many of the menu items.

“Panera is uniquely positioned to fill the void between quality and convenience for hungry travelers, offering the same better-for-you menu options they know and love from our traditional bakery-cafes with all the speed they need while in transit,” said Dan Wegiel, executive vice-president, chief growth and strategy officer for Panera.

St. Louis-based Panera Bread Co., which was acquired by JAB Holding Co. in 2017, has more than 2,300 restaurants globally and nearly $6 billion in annual systemwide sales. HMSHost operates in more than 120 airports globally and in more than 80 travel plazas in North America. HMSHost is the exclusive provider of Starbucks Coffee in airports and motorways in North America and has partnerships with brands such as Shake Shack, Pret a Manger and Popeyes Louisiana Chicken.

“Traveling consumers have been clamoring for Panera Bread to expand into airports and motorways,” said Steve Johnson, president and chief executive officer of HMSHost. “With this agreement, we are answering that demand for travelers seeking craveable, better-for-you food delivered fast and efficiently.”