Panera Bread Company Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Core Competencies

Since its inception, the company had achieved a number of core competencies in the business and had a potential to exceed customers’ expectations. The company was offering high quality food items at affordable prices to their customers with a warm and comfortable environment. As the CEO, Ron Shaich said “it really matter to us that our guest should feel comfortable at our bakery-cafes. We have committed to produce and introduce the tradition of handcrafted, artisan bread and something special for our customers. As we observe here at Panera, that customers love our services, food quality and our café’s environment, which is the basic reason behind our year to year success”. The company had always tried to integrate something innovative into their menus that could attract customers from every walk of life. It had also initiated a number of charitable activities by offering free give away breads to the homeless families i.e. Operation Dough nation program, which had enhanced their brand image. Due to these core competencies, Panera bread was widely recognized as a market giant in the specialty bread segment and according to a study conducted by the TNS Inter-search the company had reported the highest level of customer loyalty in 2003, among all the quick-casual restaurants. According to the Sandleman & Associates national customer satisfaction survey, the company was rated for the four consecutive years in the best of 121 competitors in the quick-service restaurant industry.

Panera Bread’s Strategy

The target market of the organization was urban workers and sub-urban dwellers. It was offering specialty bread products to the target market at an affordable price and was capable of developing a brand image through increasing customer loyalty and satisfaction. The company’s marketing strategy was very close to the broad differentiation strategy because it was focused upon satisfying their customers through innovation and increasing value of their dollars. The company had a strong market research team that had incorporated buyer desires from time to time and developed innovative products that could be capable of meeting the changing trends of the industry. The company was also charging affordable prices for their products, which had increased their customer base and loyalty because most of the customers were making their choices on the basis of getting high-quality food against affordable prices. The company had performed an extensive market research to determine customer food, drink preferences and price points. It was trying to grow its sales at different existing locations through menu development, promotions at everyday prices, product merchandising and sponsorship of local community charitable events.

With the help of this strategy, Panera Bread would be able to achieve a competitive advantage in the industry through their unique offerings and innovative product developments. The company would also be able to expand their geographical operations through this strategy because most of the customers would not visit a new place that charge premium prices with limited product portfolio. With the help of a broad differentiation strategy, the company would be able to enhance its profitability because the extra price that commands the product would easily outweigh the added cost utilized for achieving the differentiation. Panera would be capable of integrating their products to both the casual and fast food dining experience through this strategy..........................................

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