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Au Bon Pain

Exterior Au Bon Pain

Au Bon Pain (pc: fastcasual.com)

Part one of a three part trilogy.

Au Bon Pain (we’ll tackle the pronunciation later) began in France, now resides in Germany with one American businessman in the center.  The story begins in 1976 when Pavallier, a French manufacturer of baking equipment, decided to start selling their bread to showcase their ovens in Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall. Two years later in 1978 Louis Kane, a Harvard graduate, and owner of a frozen yogurt franchise decided to purchase the bread company. He quickly found out that it was much more challenging to sell bread in retail space than to sell frozen yogurt.

Let’s pause there one minute moving across town to another Harvard grad, Ronald Shaich (pronounced “shake”). Shaich, while attending Harvard, was kicked out of a convenience store with his friends after being accused of shoplifting. Most college students would have a funny story to tell their friends, Shaich chose a different option. He hated the mistreatment so much that he decided to open his own (nonprofit) convenience store financed by the student body. He loved the experience and so after college, he began The Cookie Jar in Boston in 1980.

Seeing all the traffic walk by in the morning hours not ready for cookies till lunchtime, Ronald Shaich reached out to Louis Kane who was by then losing the bakery company to debt. Shaich saw an opportunity to combine the two businesses and with the help of an early inheritance from his CPA father, purchases 60% of the small chain. He becomes the third owner of the company, but the most important as a few years later he turns Au Bon Pain into something much more significant. To be continued…

General Restaurant Information

Food Type: Bakery

Restaurant Type: Fast Casual

U.S. Locations: 207

States: 28 states, Au Bon Pain Locations

Company Slogans: The good bread; Good food served quickly; Simply put, Bon means good

 

Contact Information

Website: aubonpain.com

Questions: Contact Information

Phone number: 800-825-5227

Email: [email protected]

Blog: No

FAQ Page: No

 

Ownership

Who Owns Au Bon Pain? Panera Bread owns Au Bon Pain. Panera Bread is then owned by JAB Holding Company who is owned by Agnaten SE

Headquartered: Boston, Massatuchets

Contact Information: 

Website: jabholco.com

Email/contact page[email protected]

Phone: +31 23 230 2866

Address: Oudeweg 147, 2031 CC Haarlem, Netherlands

Do They Franchise? Yes. (franchise site down at the time of this post)

 

What Is It Like To Work At Au Bon Pain?

Employment Page (aubonpain.com)

3.5/5 or 70%; 660 Reviews (indeed.com)

2.8/5, or 56%; 218 Reviews (glassdoor.com)

 

 

Original Au Bon Pain

The first location was located at 4 S Market St (inside Quincy Market at Faneuil Hall) and opened in 1976 (pc-bostonglobe.com)

The History of Au Bon Pain

Original Location: 4 S Market St (Quincy Market at Faneuil Hall), Boston, Massachusetts

Founded: August 26, 1976

Founded By: Pavailler, French Baking Equipment Co

Founder Obituary: NA

Name Origin: Au Bon Pain in French means “at the good bread” (source)

History Page: Company History Page

Current View of Original Location: 14 S Market St (Quincy Market at Faneuil Hall) as it is today (link may not work on mobile devices without Google Maps)

Historical Articles: 

Au Bon Pain (wikivividly.com)

Au Bon Pain Co., Inc. History (fundinguniverse.com)

18 Years After Separating, Panera Bread And Au Bon Pain Reunite In Merger (forbes.com)

When we were small: Panera Bread (washingtonpost.com)

A founder’s bold gamble on Panera (archive.fortune.com)

 

Social Awareness

Charity Focus: No resources found

Foundation | Charity Work: No resources found

Green | Eco-Friendly: No resources found

Animal Cruelty: 

Switching to Cage Free Eggs (huffingtonpost.com)

100% Cage Free Eggs and Gestation Crate Free-pork (cagefreefuture.com)

Pledges To Stop Supporting Gestation Crates (humanesociety.org)

Another Cage-Free Victory (thecrimson.com)

Phasing out pork suppliers using gestational crates (fastcasual.com)

 

In 1984, these were still traditional French bakeries, and people would come in and ask for a baguette. But they started asking for it sliced not like a loaf of bread, but from top to bottom, long ways. I would hand it to them, and I would see them pull meats from the local delicatessen, and they would put it on the bread. ~ Ronald Shaich (source)

 

Discounts At Au Bon Pain

Rewards Program: Au Bon Pain Reward Program

Do Kids Eat Free at Au Bon Pain?

Summary: Au Bon Pain does not offer a kids eat free promotion.

Does Au Bon Pain Offer Military Discounts?

Summary: Au Bon Pain doesn’t offer any military discounts

What About My Birthday at Au Bon Pain?

Summary: Although there was no information on their site, the following could be found from external sources. As always, please check with your local restaurant to find out what current promotion is being offered especially since these sources are reporting different things.

“On your birthday get a free salad or sandwich when you sign up for their email club” (urbantastebud.com)

“free meal” (hustlermoneyblog.com)

“Lunch is free on your birthday when you join the eClub” (thrillist.com)

“Get a free travel mug when you sign up for their email club and then discounted coffee daily to fill it.” (people.com)

“A FREE Sandwich or Salad. NPN Deal valid 7 days before your birthday, on your birthday and 7 days after. To receive this deal please sign up for the Au Bon Pain email list” (favoritecandle.com)

Do They Offer First Responder Discounts?

Summary: No resources found

Does Au Bon Pain Offer Senior Citizen | AARP Discounts?

Summary: No resources found

Are There Any Other Discounts or Benefits at?

Summary: Currently when you join their e-club, they offer the following benefits as reported on their site – 

Join our email club to receive special offers, promotions and event information

Get a free travel mug when you join and enjoy discounted freshly brewed 100% arabica coffee daily

 

Food Items Au Bon Pain

Au Bon Pain (pc- aubonpain.com)

Amenities

Order Online: Online Order

WiFi Available: Yes

Use Apple Pay: Most locations 

Reservations: No 

Catering: Au Bon Pain Catering  

Drive-Thru: No  

Open 24 Hours: No  

 

Customer Reviews of Au Bon Pain

Yelp: 3.00/5 or 60%, 611 reviews sampled

Tripadvisor: 3.55/5 or 88%, 373 reviews sampled

Facebook: 4.10/5 or 82%, 676 reviews sampled

Overall Average: 3.79/5 or 76%, 1,660 reviews sampled

 

Au Bon Pain & Related Items on Amazon

Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme 2-Pound-Loaf Breadmaker
Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme 2-Pound-Loaf Breadmaker
Brabantia Roll Top Bread Box Fingerprint Proof
Brabantia Roll Top Bread Box Fingerprint Proof
Brabantia Fall Front Bread Box Fingerprint Proof
Brabantia Fall Front Bread Box Fingerprint Proof
Mercer Culinary Millennia 10-Inch Wide Bread Knife
Mercer Culinary Millennia 10-Inch Wide Bread Knife
Zojirushi Breadmaker w/ Gluten Free Menu setting
Zojirushi Breadmaker w/ Gluten Free Menu setting
Sunbeam Programmable Bread Maker, 2 Pound, White
Sunbeam Programmable Bread Maker, 2 Pound, White
Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme 2-Pound-Loaf Breadmaker
Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme 2-Pound-Loaf Breadmaker
Brabantia Roll Top Bread Box Fingerprint Proof
Brabantia Roll Top Bread Box Fingerprint Proof
Brabantia Fall Front Bread Box Fingerprint Proof
Brabantia Fall Front Bread Box Fingerprint Proof
Mercer Culinary Millennia 10-Inch Wide Bread Knife
Mercer Culinary Millennia 10-Inch Wide Bread Knife
Zojirushi Breadmaker w/ Gluten Free Menu setting
Zojirushi Breadmaker w/ Gluten Free Menu setting
Sunbeam Programmable Bread Maker, 2 Pound, White
Sunbeam Programmable Bread Maker, 2 Pound, White
Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme 2-Pound-Loaf Breadmaker
Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme 2-Pound-Loaf Breadmaker
Brabantia Roll Top Bread Box Fingerprint Proof
Brabantia Roll Top Bread Box Fingerprint Proof
Brabantia Fall Front Bread Box Fingerprint Proof
Brabantia Fall Front Bread Box Fingerprint Proof
Mercer Culinary Millennia 10-Inch Wide Bread Knife
Mercer Culinary Millennia 10-Inch Wide Bread Knife
Zojirushi Breadmaker w/ Gluten Free Menu setting
Zojirushi Breadmaker w/ Gluten Free Menu setting
Sunbeam Programmable Bread Maker, 2 Pound, White
Sunbeam Programmable Bread Maker, 2 Pound, White

 

Food & Nutrition

Menu:  Au Bon Pain Menu

Kids Menu:  No

Secret Menu: No

Most Popular Menu Item:  Chocolate Chip Cookies

Coke or Pepsi Products: Pepsi

Do They Serve Alcohol: No

Nutritional Information: Au Bon Pain Nutrition Guide

Vegetarian | Vegan Options: 

145 Vegan Chain Restaurant Menus Every Vegan Needs to Know (urbantastebud.com)

17 Fast Food Chains That Secretly Have Vegan-Friendly Options (refinery29.com)

Best Vegetarian Chain Restaurants: Midwest Fast-Food Edition (delishably.com)

Vegan Options At Popular Fast Food Chains (onegreenplanet.org)

Eating Vegetarian At Au Bon Pain (thatnerdysciencegirl.com)

Vegan Menu (urbantastebud.com)

Au Bon Pain Vegan Inquiry (veganmasterlist.blogspot.com)

Farm to Table | Organic Options | Clean | Non-GMO: No resources found

Miscellaneous Nutrition Resources: 

The Top Swap at Au Bon Pain (eatthis.com)

How many calories in (calorieking.com)

15 Healthy Au Bon Pain Options for Your Next Cafe Visit (spoonuniversity.com)

 

Allergy Information

Allergen Information: No, nutrition only

Gluten Free Options: 

Gluten Free Options (glutenfreefollowme.com)

Gluten-Free Menu (glutenfreeguidehq.com)

Gluten-free at Au Bon Pain (ourgffamily.com)

New Holiday Menu & Gluten Free Options At Au Bon Pain (glutenfreebostonandbeyond.com)

Au Bon Pain (glutensniper.com)

Dairy Free Options: No resources found, but the following may be helpful to you.

Restaurant Guide For Dairy-Free Dining (godairyfree.org)

Peanut Free Options: No resources found, but the following may be helpful to you.

Food Allergy Guides For Many Chain Restaurants (verywellhealth.com)

Ways to Eliminate Risks of Peanut Allergy When Dining Out (healthguidance.org)

Exterior Au Bon Pain

Au Bon Pain (pc- insideretail.asia)

Does Au Bon Pain Have Any Secret Recipes?

Secret Recipes:  

Harvest Pumpkin Soup (relish.com)

 

Did You Know?

Fun Facts: 

If you’re stumped on the pronunciation as a lot of people are, here’s an excellent link to listen to in whatever dialect you choose.

Once owned by a French manufacturer of baking equipment, Au Bon Pain now is owned by a German company and belongs to the same family as Peet’s Coffee, Caribou Coffee, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Dr. Pepper, Snapple, Krispy Kreme, Panera, Bruegger’s and more. 

Having no idea how to manage baking equipment, Shaich would hire mechanics to help him work on the equipment. One night at 3 in the morning, one guy was working on a hydraulic divider and was zapped up in the air and lands motionless on the floor. Another guy, a Marine veteran, runs over and begins applying mouth-to-mouth. The victim opens one eye and mumbles “I appreciate the mouth-to-mouth, but would you please take your tongue out of my mouth.” (source)

Ron would take annual Christmas trips to the beach, and it was there on two separate trips that would change not only his life but that of Au Bon Pain and other future (Panera) companies. (source)

In the beginning, Shaich was focused on selling bread the way the company had historically. In 1984 he took notice when people would come in and ask for baguettes, but they asked for it sliced as opposed to the traditional loaf of bread. Once purchased, they would then take meat they had just bought from local groceries and put it on their bread, so Au Bon Pain took note and completely changed their sells concept. (source)

With a new focus, the chain becomes more of a French bakery serving soups, sandwiches and salads focused on the high-end locations in white collar districts of the larger select cities they were a part of. They knew their market was small in that space which leads them to St. Louis Bread Company which then lead to Panera. (more to come)

Interesting Articles:

A European company you’ve never heard of has quietly acquired Panera, Krispy Kreme, and now Pret A Manager in its quest to build a coffee empire (businessinsider.com)

Au Bon Pain Celebrates 1st Birthday (dining.nd.edu)

Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Au Bon Pain Co., Inc (referenceforbusiness.com)

When we were small: Panera Bread (washingtonpost.com)

 

Au Bon Pain & Related Items on Amazon

Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme 2-Pound-Loaf Breadmaker
Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme 2-Pound-Loaf Breadmaker
Brabantia Roll Top Bread Box Fingerprint Proof
Brabantia Roll Top Bread Box Fingerprint Proof
Brabantia Fall Front Bread Box Fingerprint Proof
Brabantia Fall Front Bread Box Fingerprint Proof
Mercer Culinary Millennia 10-Inch Wide Bread Knife
Mercer Culinary Millennia 10-Inch Wide Bread Knife
Zojirushi Breadmaker w/ Gluten Free Menu setting
Zojirushi Breadmaker w/ Gluten Free Menu setting
Sunbeam Programmable Bread Maker, 2 Pound, White
Sunbeam Programmable Bread Maker, 2 Pound, White
Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme 2-Pound-Loaf Breadmaker
Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme 2-Pound-Loaf Breadmaker
Brabantia Roll Top Bread Box Fingerprint Proof
Brabantia Roll Top Bread Box Fingerprint Proof
Brabantia Fall Front Bread Box Fingerprint Proof
Brabantia Fall Front Bread Box Fingerprint Proof
Mercer Culinary Millennia 10-Inch Wide Bread Knife
Mercer Culinary Millennia 10-Inch Wide Bread Knife
Zojirushi Breadmaker w/ Gluten Free Menu setting
Zojirushi Breadmaker w/ Gluten Free Menu setting
Sunbeam Programmable Bread Maker, 2 Pound, White
Sunbeam Programmable Bread Maker, 2 Pound, White
Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme 2-Pound-Loaf Breadmaker
Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme 2-Pound-Loaf Breadmaker
Brabantia Roll Top Bread Box Fingerprint Proof
Brabantia Roll Top Bread Box Fingerprint Proof
Brabantia Fall Front Bread Box Fingerprint Proof
Brabantia Fall Front Bread Box Fingerprint Proof
Mercer Culinary Millennia 10-Inch Wide Bread Knife
Mercer Culinary Millennia 10-Inch Wide Bread Knife
Zojirushi Breadmaker w/ Gluten Free Menu setting
Zojirushi Breadmaker w/ Gluten Free Menu setting
Sunbeam Programmable Bread Maker, 2 Pound, White
Sunbeam Programmable Bread Maker, 2 Pound, White

 

Au Bon Pain on Social Media

Followers (as of August 2018) –  

Facebook: 50,408

Twitter: 6,419

Instagram: 3,555

Au Bon Pain Mobile Apps

Alternatives

Better Options: Coming Soon

Similar Restaurants: Coming Soon

 

In Summary

Much like Biggby Coffee, I had never heard of Au Bon Pain and I definitely couldn’t pronounce it. It was another restaurant chain I just needed to post and move on. But then I read how it was greatly influenced by a group of college students who were kicked out of a convenience store for shoplifting (which they didn’t do), and I was captivated by the story and the maze of how you get from a French baking equipment company to St. Louis Bread to Panera with this man and small company in the middle that no one can pronounce. I genuinely feel restaurants are missing significant opportunities by not capitalizing on these stories. I don’t know that I would be a weekly customer of any of the related chains, but the story sure makes me want to visit. 

I hope you found the information on Au Bon Pain helpful. The more we know and understand about the restaurants we eat at, the better decisions we can make of where and what we should eat. If you found this article helpful, would you please help by sharing this with your friends and family. If there is anything you would like to see about a restaurant that’s not already listed, please leave a comment below, I would love your feedback! You can also email me at anytime backofthemenu @ gmail.com.

 

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