Panera Bread, a bakery-cafe that bakes its breads and pastries on site daily, is expected to open a location in San Luis Obispo in the next three to four months.
The restaurant would be the fifth outlet for First Picks Management, which holds the franchise rights for Panera Bread on the Central Coast, including San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, said Ingrid Roberts, managing director of First Picks.
The San Luis Obispo bakery-cafe is in the final permitting stages, Roberts said.
She declined to specify the exact location but confirmed the company is strongly considering an existing building in the Madonna Plaza shopping center.
“It would be safe to say we will be in San Luis Obispo within the next few months,” Roberts said.
Panera Bread was established in 1981 and is currently headquartered in Richmond Heights, Mo., according to the company’s website.
It operated 1,388 company-owned and franchise-operated bakery-cafes in 40 states and in Ontario, Canada, as of March 30, under the Panera Bread, Saint Louis Bread Co. and Paradise Bakery & Café names.
On and around the Central Coast, First Picks opened its first Panera Bread bakery-cafe in Thousand Oaks in 2007 and in Camarillo on Aug. 14. Other locations include Simi Valley and Santa Maria.
“We’re making our way up the coast and certainly hope to be open and thriving in San Luis Obispo as well,” Roberts said.
— Cynthia Lambert
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