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America's Largest Bakery Chain Is About to Expand Big-Time

Get ready for *all* the bagels...

Big news for bread, bagel, and coffee lovers! An iconic U.S. bakery brand has just joined forces with two other well-known chains to double its services around the country. Check out what the three are cooking.

On Thursday, Restaurant Business reported that Panera Bread has merged with Caribou Coffee and Einstein Bros. Bagels to form a conglomerate that will " build an unrivaled fast-casual platform," according to Panera Bread CEO Niren Chaudhary.

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panera bread
Shutterstock

It's reported Panera Bread currently has 2,100 locations throughout the U.S., while Einstein Bros. Bagels has 1,005 and Caribou Coffee has just over 700. The three will combine under the newly formed Panera Brands to become "a new powerhouse platform" with 4,000 locations, the company stated.

caribou coffee
Caribou Coffee/ Facebook

For now, it seems that the face of each might not change much, but this merger is likely to bring more services that Panera is known for to customers of all three brands. Specifically, it seems the appeal for Caribou and Enstein Bros. to join Panera was to accelerate their growth through Panera's "broad omnichannel retail network." (With this, they might be hinting at the development of more products like Panera at Home's refrigerated soups, breads, coffee, and salad dressings that are sold in supermarkets.)

Einstein bros bagels
BCFC/Shutterstock

The company added that Panera Bread will share its "strong digital infrastructure, industry-leading loyalty program, robust food innovation pipeline, world-class supply chain and access to extremely well-capitalized franchise owners."

All this means you could see these brands moving a little closer to you. If they're already nearby, you might see smoother service, greater efficiency, and exciting menu updates.

Just please don't touch the cinnamon crunch bagel or green goddess cobb… are we right?

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Krissy Gasbarre
Krissy is a senior news editor at <em>Eat This, Not That!</em>, managing morning and weekend news related to nutrition, wellness, restaurants and groceries (with a focus on beverages), and more. Read more