Caribou Coffee Folded into Panera Brands Business Unit

Caribou Coffee Folded into Panera Brands Business Unit

The brands’ parent company JAB Holding Co. is reorganizing its fast-casual brands to help “fuel growth.”

JAB Holding Co., the Luxembourg-based parent company of Caribou Coffee, is folding three of its fast-casual restaurant brands into a new business unit.

Caribou, Einstein Bagels, and Panera Bread are now housed under the newly formed Panera Brands umbrella, the companies announced on Thursday.

What will that mean for your local Caribou? Very little. In an email, a Panera Brands spokesperson said that each brand will continue to operate independently.

“At this time there is no plan for combination of services,” the spokesperson said.

But company leaders believe that each brand can help “fuel the growth of the others by leveraging unique expertise and strengths.”

“All three companies have seen rapid recovery and strong performance in the first half of 2021,” the spokesperson said. “We see now as the perfect time to unite them under the Panera Brands platform.”

As part of the change, Panera Bread CEO Niren Chaudhary has been named group CEO of the new unit. Caribou CEO John Butcher and Einstein Bagels CEO José Alberto Dueñas will remain heads of their respective brands, but they’ll report to Chaudhary.

A Reuters report on Thursday morning described the change as a “maneuver companies sometimes make ahead of a deal like an initial public offering or sale.” But the companies declined to comment on the prospect of either an IPO or sale.

Of course, Caribou has been down the publicly traded route in the past. In 2005, the company launched its own IPO and began trading on NASDAQ. JAB, which is privately held, purchased Caribou in late 2013 for $340 million, effectively ending the coffee chain’s stint on the public markets.

JAB spun off another of its brands — Krispy Kreme doughnuts — in June. Krispy Kreme then returned to the public markets with a $500 million IPO.

In a statement, Caribou’s Butcher said that “the creation of Panera Brands enables us to work smarter together, and drive greater impact for our teams, guests and communities.”