Life of Biz Owners


Panera is Making Dough During Recession

A quick Wall Street Journal read on the subway ride home (the actual paper not the iPhone app) revealed the secret of a company baking a profit during the Recession. Panera Bread is focusing on the 90% of people who are currently employed, and Panera continues to bake with quality ingredients. According to the article, Panera's second quarter profit rose 28% from a year earlier, and its revenue rose 3% (this all helped by a drop in commodity costs). Rival bakery cafes are not doing as well. Cosi reported a loss of $969,000 for its second quarter, and a 14% decline in revenue. What is Panera doing right?

By focusing on the people who do have money to pay for their baked goods, Panera has kept the customers it had, and gained some more. Panera is a large hub for wireless workers, some of whom are home office workers, and some of whom conduct meetings out of their company offices or are on the road. The quality of their food has not declined to cut cost, in fact, it has increased. The article points out that Panera is baking loaves later in the morning so that they are fresher, and it will soon offer a breakfast sandwich made with fresh eggs versus processed eggs. They already have an egg sandwich pastry made with your choice of cheeses, spinach, artichoke hearts, and more, which creates something of a craving for the average morning worker who needs a good dose of wireless access (ahem...yours truly).

Panera decided against cutting prices and offering Recession Specials. In fact, last year, it debuted a "strawberry poppyseed salad with colorful signs." The salad was a hit because of the fresh ingredients, but the profit margins were slim due to the high cost of quality ingredients. The next summer they raised the prices, and changed how they marketed the salad. The Wall Street Journal quoted Robert Derrington, an analyst at Morgan Keegan, as observing: "They redesigned their menu boards to prominently display only those items with higher margins."

Another smart decision cited by the article was to not heavily expand stores and take on debt while the economy was good. In fact, Panera is debt-less, and has $100 million in cash. Read more about these details here.

This summer, Panera is releasing a $16.99 lobster salad sandwich. While it's not for everyone, it is a good treat for that home office worker on a Friday, and a great reason to come in, plug in, and get to work.

Read the full article from the Wall Street Journal, as reported by Julie Jargon. It will give you great insight and confidence to keep going with the vision for your brand.

PR Never Stops

This one will be a short one, you know why?  I'm still working and it's 8:45 pm !  You know why?  Because magazines are closing, they need photographs, and it "ain't over until the fat lady sings"!  You can't drop your pr campaign because you want to cuddle up on the couch and watch Dance Your Ass Off, and you can't decide to "just get on it in the morning". 

I received a call from an editor at 7 pm saying one of my clients files couldn't open and she needed it high resolution asap.  That meant not only did the Red Branch PR team have to make sure that happened, but my client did as well.  We all want this placement, and want to keep the relationship with the editor and help them close their magazine on time, so we are all on it. 

There are two lessons here:

Always be available to the press

Don't finish a pr job until it's done, or you may miss out on an editorial opportunity or hurt a relationship with an editor.  

So EVEN if all you really want to do is go get sushi and you're dying to just put it off...wait until the job is done!  Dedication and perseverance are the stuff of great pr campaigns!

What is an Entrepreneur? Are You One?

I always assumed that everyone running their own business or venture would consider themselves an entrepreneur, but strong reactions from two people I respect, each of whom run their own businesses, caught me off guard and got me to thinking: what is an entrepreneur, and why don't these two business owners consider themselves one?

Moderating a Columbia College Women's Panel of Women Entrepreneurs and was Fascinated

Very early on a Thursday, I stopped my workday at 5pm to begin to get ready to moderate a panel put on by Columbia College Women (Office of Alumni Affairs and Development) and the Columbia-Barnard Athletic Consortium, thanks to an invitation from Tin Shingle member Stacie Bach.

How Dining Out - in Your Mind - Saves You Money

My hubby and I live in New York City. While we don't live in the swankiest part of town, we do have a handful of menus we can order from any night of the week. When I first moved to Manhattan from Ohio, I lived with a couple who ordered out every single night while I cooked myself dinner - like a normal person.

Reasons Why I Love Being an Entrepreneur: #1 Stress Free Coffee Breaks

I've decided I shall start sharing my many reasons that I love being an entrepreneur because let's admit it....this lifestyle isn't always easy, and we need reminders at times of why it rocks.  That said, here's one that I was reflecting on today, and feel free to send ideas to add to the series!

I love being an entrepreneur because even though I work A LOT I can go get coffee whenever I want without worrying that I'm taking too long a break and someone is going to give me an admonishing stare when I come back into the office. 

This morning I decided to get some fresh air before going back in to pitch and I went on a great walk, got some coffee, met the small business owner who runs the shop, and then walked back to the train for work.  Not once was I frantically checking my clock for fear that my "fifteen minutes" were up.  I arrived back at the office refreshed and re-energized.  Ah bliss!  

PS -  if you want a stress free coffee break with once in one of the friendliest spots in Greenpoint, check out Cafe Grumpy.  I just feel creative being in there, and they have better coffee than anywhere I know!


Subscribe to RSS - Life of Biz Owners