Panera Bread Starts Domination

According to a new survey, bakery-cafes are the next big thing

Cute sandwich shops have always been a staple, but the trendier sandwich-soup-coffee shops of late are around to stay, says a new survey from Technomic, a consulting group in Chicago.

“American consumers are looking for an experience at a specific price point,” says a representative, “where the dining experience is sophisticated, the quality, freshness, and made-to-order food is also on target, and the price point is still well below what you might expect today.”

According to the survey, bakery-café growth is slowing down, but it still beats out the burger, chicken, and Mexican trends. Panera is "the Coke of the bakery-café arena," with “free wi-fi, comfortable seating, and beverages that are in general unlimited)."

Technomic warns of more bakery-cafés, saying, “We’ll see a number of other chains and independents trying to replicate the type of restaurant that Panera is.” Probably not their free-for-all concept, but if this means more lunch options, we’re all for it.

The Daily Byte is a regular column dedicated to covering interesting food news and trends across the country. Click here for previous columns.