PR Newswire
Tuesday, June 11, 2024 at 1:31pm UTC


PR Newswire

ST. LOUIS, June 11, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Panera Bread is proud to spotlight and celebrate the second year of the Upper Crust program, an annual incentive trip designed to celebrate and reward top-performing General Managers (GMs), Operating Partners (OPs), and District Retail Operations Directors (DROs) while continuing their growth trajectory as company leaders.

The Upper Crust program recognizes individuals within Panera's company-owned bakery-cafes who have not only achieved the highest levels of performance, but who also consistently embody an unwavering commitment to warmth, hospitality, and genuine brand passion that is uniquely Panera. This program forms part of Panera's comprehensive Total Rewards program for GMs, centered on career growth through professional and personal development opportunities. Nearly half of last year's winners achieved this distinction for a second time in 2023.

"Our bakery-cafe associates are the heart and soul of Panera Bread, working each day to provide an outstanding experience for our guests," said Debbie Roberts, Chief Operating Officer, Panera Bread. "Through their dedication and leadership, they create the welcoming environment and delicious menu that our guests have come to expect. The Upper Crust program allows us to celebrate their incredible achievements and invest in their continued growth."

The Upper Crust program rewards the leaders overseeing the top 10% of Panera's company-owned bakery-cafes with an exclusive experience that fosters valuable networking and professional development opportunities through engaging keynote speakers, dedicated time with Panera's leadership team, and exciting excursions balanced with moments of relaxation and celebration. Panera recently celebrated its 2023 winners on June 3-5, 2024 in Boca Raton, Florida.

Panera has invested heavily in capability building, training and recognition programs and Panera's General Manager (GM) turnover rate is one of the lowest in the restaurant industry. Panera GMs have a tenure of over nine years on average and are nearly 98% internal promotes, reflecting the company's unwavering commitment to development and growth of its number 1 leaders.* In 2024, for the second consecutive year, Panera received the Employer of Choice award in the fast-casual restaurant segment from Black Box Intelligence™, a leading provider of restaurant industry data and insights. The Employer of Choice award is based on workforce data and recognizes Panera's low hourly and management turnover rates, competitive compensation and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

*These statistics are based on Panera's 2023 internal data General Manager and non-management turnover and the restaurant industry's 25th, 50th and 75th percentiles from Black Box Intelligence data.

About Panera Bread 
Our first bakery-cafe opened in 1987, founded with a secret sourdough starter and the belief that the best part of bread is sharing it. That vision led to the invention of the Fast Casual category with Panera at the forefront, serving as America's kitchen table centered around our delicious menu of chef-curated recipes that are crafted with care by our team members. We make food that we are proud to serve our own families, from crave-worthy soups, salads and sandwiches to mac and cheese and sweets. Each recipe is filled with ingredients we feel good about and none of those we don't because we are committed to serving our guests food that feels good in the moment and long after. While our company is now nearly 2,200 bakery-cafes strong, our values and belief in the lasting power of a great meal remain as strong as ever. We spend each day filling bellies, building empowered teams and inspiring communities. Nothing beats breaking bread together.

As of May 28, 2024 there were 2,182 bakery-cafes, company and franchise, in 48 states and Washington D.C., and in Ontario, Canada, operating under the Panera Bread® or Saint Louis Bread Co.® names. Panera Bread is part of Panera Brands, one of the largest fast casual restaurant companies in the U.S., comprised of Panera Bread®, Caribou Coffee® and Einstein Bros.® Bagels. For more information, visit or find us on Twitter (@panerabread), Facebook ( Instagram (@panerabread) or TikTok (@panerabread).

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