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Case Study Panera Bread in the Carolinas

Atlantic’s Charlotte office began its relationship with Panera Bread in 2014, representing the local operator in select South Carolina markets. Following an acquisition by a larger operator, the assignment quickly grew to include North Carolina and select markets in Georgia.

As the franchisee rapidly expanded with well-performing stores, the challenge became finding new spaces. Panera’s initial market entry had already hit the major markets in the region. With so many of the primary markets already covered, the company was left searching for space in secondary and tertiary markets in order to continue its growth. Panera’s site requirements of 1.5 acres, drive-thru service, and 70+ parking spaces can be hard to come by, especially in smaller markets. The Charlotte team worked around this by getting creative: assembling properties, utilizing Panera’s flexibility as a tenant and their willingness to do different types of leases as situations dictated.

Our brokers’ market knowledge and network of relationships was key in painting a full picture for the client of what was available and, sometimes more importantly, what would eventually become available. With the Carolinas experiencing rapid growth and changes in the real estate market, there was a fine line between being competitive for existing space and staying on top of where said growth is headed. Sometimes acting in the best interest of the client meant not doing the available deal but waiting for the right one. We were able to balance these concerns to help Panera secure sites that were the best fit for their franchise locations.

With the client responsible for a large territory elsewhere in the country, Atlantic was also instrumental in being able to provide them with the most comprehensive and up-to-date information so they could make their real estate decisions quickly and easily. In 2019, Atlantic Retail represented Panera in 10 new transactions in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

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