Panera Bread Closed Down Stores in St. Louis, Missouri and Burlington, Vermont in 2018

Panera Bread closing

Panera Bread Company closed the doors of its location on Church Street in Burlington, Vermont on January 15. The announcement of the store closure was communicated through a company statement and a sign taped on the front door of the store.

The location had been operating since it first opened its doors in September 2011. This Panera Bread closure in Vermont will impact approximately 20 employees, which includes both full-time and part-time staff. These employees will have the opportunity of working at two other nearby locations.

The store closure comes months after Panera Bread was acquired by JAB Holding Company, which is based in Germany. The acquisition deal closed in July 2017.

The Church Street space that was occupied by Panera will be taken over by the building’s owners, Outdoor Gear Exchange, Inc., who already have a presence in the building. The company’s business focus includes selling camping gear, recreation products, and clothing for the outdoors.


The move by Outdoor Gear Exchange is part of an expansion plan that would add 20% more square footage to the store’s footprint at this location. The total square footage after all the construction is completed will be 4,400 square-feet.

The construction of the space that was operated by Panera will begin on January 29. There will be a partial opening of the new area in mid-April, and the full space will be opened by Outdoor Gear Exchange in May.

Panera Bread Closing Its Pay-What-You-Want Restaurant in St. Louis, Missouri

The Panera Bread location in Vermont is not the only store closure that was seen in the company’s network of stores this month. On January 9, Panera closed down one of its locations in St. Louis, Missouri. This was a unique store location because the business model was for customers to pay the price they wanted for the food and services they received.

The pay-what-you-want business model of the St. Louis store was to gain market share while allowing customers of all income levels to experience Panera. The location saw some customers pay less than the suggested retail price while other customers paid more what would be expected. This resulted in an equilibrium in the prices being paid. On average, 85% of the suggested retail price was received under this business model.

The Missouri store closure was due to a strategic plan to preserve cash for future large capital investments. Since the Panera location was on a month-to-month lease, it was an easy business decision for upper management to shut down its operations.

Panera has opened stores with the pay-what-you-want business model in Chicago, Michigan, Portland, and Boston. Today, the Boston location is the only one of those stores to stay open.

Another Bakery Restaurant Church Street Marketplace Closure in Vermont

In December 2017, Bruegger’s Bagels closed its location on Church Street in Burlington, Vermont after about 27 years of having operations there. There were no details publicly released about how many employees were impacted with this business decision. Furthermore, there was no information provided to the media about whether employees were offered job opportunities at other store locations.

Just like Panera, Bruegger’s Bagels was acquired by JAB Holding Company in 2017. This acquisition deal was completed after the Panera deal closed.

Conclusion on Panera Bread Closings

Panera has more than 2,000 stores in its network of stores. The recent moves by its parent company, JAB Holding Company,  show evidence that there could be more changes coming in the future. The multiple store closures under its various brands make it seem that JAB Holding is looking at all of the restaurants and only keeping the most efficient stores open.

In addition, there is a possibility that the different brands currently under the JAB Holding umbrella will start selling goods under one brand name. This could result in continued store closures until the holding company met its investment and business goals. This would result in higher revenue and profit margins.


Panera Bread on Church St. closing, Outdoor Gear Exchange to expand,” Burlington Free Press, January 12, 2018.

Panera Bread Closing on Church Street,” Seven Days, January 12, 2018.

Panera Bread pay-what-you-want cafe in Missouri to close,” St. Louis Post-Dispatach, January 4, 2018.

Bruegger’s Bagels Closes on Church Street,” Seven Days, December 12, 2017.

Our History,” Panera Bread Company, last accessed January 15, 2018.