Au Bon Pain

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Au Bon Pain
Industry Fast-casual bakery and café restaurant
Founded 1976 in Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Founder Louis Rapuano
Louis Kane
Headquarters Boston, MA, United States
Area served
United States, India, Thailand
Owner Panera Bread

Au Bon Pain (French pronunciation: ​[o bɔ̃ pɛ̃], meaning "at (or to) the Good Bread"[1]) is an American fast-casual bakery and café chain headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts.[2] In 1977, Louis Rapuano[3] founded Au Bon Pain in Boston's Faneuil Hall.[4] Since its inception, the chain has expanded throughout the United States. Additionally, there are numerous franchise locations internationally in India[5] and Thailand.[6] On November 8, 2017, Panera Bread announced it would be acquiring Au Bon Pain, which had split off from Panera in 1999 after being created in 1981.[7]



Au Bon Pain at Siam Square in Siam, Bangkok

Pavailler,[8][9] a French baking equipment manufacturer,[3] established the company as a showcase for its ovens in 1976 at Boston's Faneuil Hall Marketplace. The principals included Rapuano, Pavailler Machinery, and two minor investors. Pavailler contributed baking machinery to the venture. Au Bon Pain sold authentic croissants, pastries, and bread produced by French bakers. The name Au Bon Pain loosely translates to “place for good bread.” After its opening in Boston, it expanded to Hackensack, New Jersey, and New York[10]

In 1978, Au Bon Pain was purchased for $1.5 million, and the business model was changed to sell baked goods instead of ovens.[11] Francois Marin[12] was hired to open and manage the first Au Bon Pain in Boston's Quincy Market adjoining Faneuil Hall by the businessman who owned Au Bon Pain in name only, but didn't have a store opened yet.[4] The deal was consummated in Paris. Up to this time Au Bon Pain's corporate parent company was named Pavco; after the buyout its name was changed to Au Bon Pain Corporation.

Au Bon Pain Headquarters[2]

By 1980, Au Bon Pain had over $1 million in sales, but was still unable to make a profit.[13][14][15]In 1984, an Au Bon Pain cafe outside of Boston opened in New York City. In 1991, the company went public as Au Bon Pain Co. Inc. In 1999, Au Bon Pain Co. Inc. (later renamed Panera Bread Company) sold its Au Bon Pain division to Bruckmann, Rosser, Sherrill & Co., which then sold it to Compass Group in 2000.[16]


Following a management buyout in 2005, private equity group LNK Partners acquired a controlling interest in Au Bon Pain in 2008.[17]

According to, in 2005, Au Bon Pain management purchased 75 percent of the company while the Compass Group retained the remaining 25 percent. In 2014, under the leadership of then President and CEO Sue Morelli, Au Bon Pain was named one of the top women-led businesses in Massachusetts by the Boston Globe and the Commonwealth Institute (Boston).[18]

In June 2016, Morelli retired and former Ray Blanchette was named President and CEO.[19] On November 8, 2017, Panera Bread announced it would be acquiring Au Bon Pain, which had split off from Panera in 1999 after being created in 1981.[7]


Au Bon Pain Harvard Square

As of 2014, there were 243 cafés in the United States, including 135 company-owned locations and 108 franchise locations, along with many international locations in India and Thailand. Most of the locations in the Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic States, and Chicago Metropolitan Area are company-owned, while international locations, such as the locations featured in Macy's and Walmart, are typically franchised. Detroit, Boston, Cleveland, New York City, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Chicago are all home to numerous Au Bon Pain locations. Many Au Bon Pain cafés have been established throughout the United States in numerous airports, train stations, shopping centers, hospitals, urban business districts in cities, and universities.

In addition to retail cafes, Au Bon Pain also runs a catering division which is done mostly out of their main restaurant locations during their off hours.[20]

Au Bon Pain in the Hesburgh Library at the University of Notre Dame.


Au Bon Pain wordmark

Au Bon Pain focuses on serving baked goods (focusing on fresh-baked bread, pastries, croissants, and bagels), tea, coffee and espresso beverages, breakfast foods (such as egg sandwiches), and lunch items such as soup, salads, and sandwiches. In recent years, the chain has undergone a brand identity upgrade that has incorporated new colors, design, and imagery. In 2014, Au Bon Pain hired Katherine See as Executive Chef.[21]

In 2015, Au Bon Pain was ranked the healthiest United States chain restaurant by Grellin Grade.[22] Au Bon Pain has also been recognized by Eat This, Not That for "an unrivaled standard of nutritional transparency".[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ KING, CHRISTINA B (1992-06-24). "AU BON PAIN Trademark of Au Bon Pain Co., Inc. - Registration Number 1757444 - Serial Number 74287859". Justia Trademarks. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
  2. ^ a b "Directions to the Au Bon Pain Corporate Support Center". Au Bon Pain. Archived from the original on October 9, 2007. Retrieved 2016-10-16.
  3. ^ a b LEVIN, JAY (February 4, 2014). "Ramsey's Louis Rapuano, founder of Au Bon Pain café chain, dies". Archived from the original on 2016-06-14. he became U.S. representative for Pavailler, a French manufacturer of baking ovens. It was Mr. Rapuano's idea to promote Pavailler by opening a demonstration bakery where crusty loaves and buttery croissants would pop out the oven. "He felt the smell and visual of the bread coming out of the oven was very important," his son, David, said. The first bakery was established in 1977 at Boston's Faneuil Hall.
  4. ^ a b KOLNOS, JASON (2004-02-29). "Serving up fun : Francois Marin, retired founder of Au Bon Pain chain turns attention to volleyball league for seniors". Hyannis, MA: cape cod times.
  5. ^ "Au Bon Pain: Find a Cafe: India". Retrieved January 21, 2015.
  6. ^ "Au Bon Pain: Find a Cafe: Thailand". Retrieved January 21, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Jargon, Julie (November 8, 2017). "Panera Bread Founder Ron Shaich to Step Down as CEO". The Wall Street Journal. New York City, New York, United States. Retrieved November 12, 2017.
  8. ^ "Fours boulangerie pâtisserie - Pavailler". Pavailler. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
  9. ^ "Au Bon Pain Co., Inc. -- Company History". Retrieved October 4, 2018.
  10. ^ CitiCorp Center. New York: New York Magazine. Sep 19, 1977.
  11. ^ "Our History - Au Bon Pain". Retrieved October 4, 2018.
  12. ^ "Page 62". Page 62. Chicago, Illinois: Chicago Tribune. July 23, 1979. Archived from the original on 2016-12-30. Retrieved Sep 21, 2016. Marin helped open the first Au Bon Pain in Boston
  13. ^ Stewart, Brandi (December 7, 2007). "Pastry parlay: From Au Bon Pain to Panera; How Panera Bread founder Ron Shaich sold his first business to build his second". Small Business : How We Got Started. Fortune. -’
  14. ^ Kowitt, Interview by Beth. "A founder's bold gamble on Panera". Retrieved October 4, 2018.
  15. ^ "founder Ron Shaich '76 to speak at commencement, May 18, 2014 - Clark University". Retrieved October 4, 2018.
  16. ^ "Panera Bread " Company Overview " Our History". Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  17. ^ "Au Bon Pain Acquisition by LNK Partners and Management Closes". pr news wire .com. Retrieved January 21, 2015.
  18. ^ "2014 Top 100 Women-Led Businesses in Massachusetts". boston globe. Retrieved January 21, 2015.
  19. ^ "Au Bon Pain Appoints Ray Blanchette as President and CEO". PRWeb. Retrieved 2017-08-25.
  20. ^ "Au Bon Pain Catering". Retrieved January 21, 2015.
  21. ^ "Au Bon Pain names new corporate executive chef". Retrieved January 21, 2015.
  22. ^ "Au Bon Pain named healthiest chain restaurant by Grellin". Retrieved January 21, 2015.
  23. ^ "Eat This, Not That: Au Bon Pain". Retrieved January 21, 2015.

External links[edit]