ST. LOUIS — JAB Holding Co. has announced it is uniting Panera Bread, Caribou Coffee and Einstein Bros. Bagels under one platform that will be known as Panera Brands. With nearly 4,000 locations and 110,000 employees across 10 countries, Panera Brands immediately becomes one of the largest fast-casual companies in the world.

As part of the arrangement, Niren Chaudhary has been named group chief executive officer of Panera Brands. Chaudhary also will continue to lead Panera Bread as CEO. Meanwhile, José Alberto Dueñas, CEO of Einstein Bros. Bagels, and John Butcher, CEO of Caribou Coffee, will report to Chaudhary while continuing as CEOs of their respective companies.

Panera Brands said it plans to tap into Panera Bread’s distinctive competencies, including its “broad omnichannel retail network, strong digital infrastructure, industry-leading loyalty program, robust food innovation pipeline, world-class supply chain and access to extremely well-capitalized franchise owners” to “turbocharge the growth” in regional coffeehouse Caribou Coffee and bagel and sandwich chain Einstein Bros. Bagels.

“Together as Panera Brands, we are united by our common values and shared belief that we can be force multipliers for good,” Chaudhary said. “We exist to provide exceptional experiences for our guests and to positively impact our communities, the planet and our shareholders while unlocking the dreams of our teams. We believe Panera Bread, Caribou Coffee and Einstein Bros. Bagels together will leverage each company’s unique expertise and services to build an unrivaled fast-casual platform with a tremendous runway for growth.”

St. Louis-based Panera Bread is a pioneer and market leader in the fast-casual category. The chain operates more than 2,100 bakery-cafes and is considered a leader in clean, transparent, sustainable ingredients, and in omnichannel access, digital convenience and engagement. During the pandemic Panera Bread successfully pivoted to more off-premises and digital access and has rapidly innovated with new offerings such as its coffee subscription program and its Flatbread Pizza launch. JAB acquired Panera Bread Co. for approximately $7.5 billion in July 2017.

Founded in 1992, Minneapolis-based Caribou Coffee operates 713 stores in 10 countries. Caribou Coffee has a sizeable presence outside the United States, and its omnichannel capabilities and investment in smaller-format restaurant models have expanded its reach, enabling the company to further expand its business throughout the United States. JAB acquired Caribou Coffee for approximately $340 million in January 2013.

“Caribou Coffee is proud to be closing out the first half of 2021 stronger than ever,” Butcher said. “Our purpose at Caribou Coffee is to create day-making experiences that spark a chain reaction of GOOD. The creation of Panera Brands enables us to work smarter together, and drive greater impact for our teams, guests and communities.”

A market leader in bagels and bagel sandwiches, Lakewood, Colo.-based Einstein Bros. Bagels operates 1,005 stores under the Einstein Bros. Bagels, Bruegger’s Bagels, Noah’s New York Bagels and Manhattan Bagel banners. JAB acquired Einstein Noah Restaurant Group for approximately $374 million in November 2014.

“At Einstein Bros. Bagels, our relentless focus on delivering the most craveable breakfast experience for our guests and our efforts to transform the business during 2020 allowed us to come out of the pandemic as a stronger, more profitable, and more nimble company,” Dueñas said. “I’m looking forward to seeing our powerful brand portfolio, executed with a simplified retail model and optimized for a great digital experience, continue to gain momentum.”