Rule #1 Finance Blog

With Investor Phil Town

HOW TO RESEARCH MANAGEMENT (PNRA)

I want to show everybody the kind of digging into the management of a business that you can do right around home.  In the Comments on the "Heads up on Panera" post, John is ripping into how Panera is being run and piece by piece the management seems to be doing things better than most businesses that they are going to compete with.  In the process he found out that they have their sights set on a growth rate of 21%.  We can use that number to confirm the Sticker Price.  This is really good work from John so I’m including the whole Comment:

[Reprinted from Comments.]

Hi Phil!

In a previous post you asked:

"Like, I’m really interested in how he treats the employees. Anything special going on there regarding incentives to do well. Are they unionized or wanna be?"

Not the easiest information to come up with until I noticed the local Panera in Trooper, PA near where I live was hiring ‘associates’.

I read the "Now Hiring" sign – "looking for outgoing people with a passion for good food" and offering good starting pay, career opportunities, growth and benefits (undefined). So far so good. Next I went to monster.com amd sure enough Panera’s all over the country were looking for managers. Amd no wonder – each store operates with four managers! The McDonald’s I worked for 30 years ago only had 2 plus a swing manager. As I checked several cities to see what other opportunities Panera had, I noticed that most of the ads were copies – in other words the local franchisees were using a corporate template – to be used to attract applicants for the store management positions. And they were nice ads, too! I checcked it out for Syracuse, NY., because I grew up there, Miami, FL because my daughter lives near there, and several PA cities. All had manager ads and they used the same format for that position with the same benefits and advantages for working for Panera. Here’s a link to one of the ads on Monster.com:

http://jobsearch.panerabread.careers.monster.com/getjob.asp?JobID=32003654&AVSDM=2005%2D07%2D19+11%3A31%3A52&Logo=0&col=dltj&sort=rv&vw=b&lid=29332&fn=13&sort=rv&vw=d

To me that’s a very impressive list of benefits the company offers their managers and they seem to be either mandating or strongly reccommending that their franchisees offer this benefit menu to their employees.

Somewhere in my reading I also discovered they want to open 160 units this year above the 775 already open. If my math is correct that’s a unit growth rate of almost 21%. Very ambitious. It also explains why the home office in St. Louis is also looking for a new Director of Instructional Design! They will have a lot of new employees to train!!!!

Still they must be doing it right, because PANERA BREAD received the highest ratings in all four of the measures of customer satisfaction; environment, meal, service and cost in September 2004 by, J.D. Power and Associates’ annual Restaurant Satisfaction Study.

Hard for me to see how they did that without motivating their employees to that level of excellence! And speaking from expierience that is NOT EASY!!!

So what else shoud we be looking for on Panera?

All the best!

John