Ampex Brand, which owns more than 400 KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Long John Silver’s and 7-Eleven franchise locations, is acquiring Au Bon Pain from Panera Bread.
Under the terms of the deal, Panera Bread will sell 171 Au Bon Pain locations and allow Ampex to franchise an additional 131 locations. This marks the first time Ampex Brand will assume the role of a franchisor.
The acquisition comes at a time when consumers are making their return to offices and are once again frequenting fast-casual dining restaurants.
“The US is reopening, and our markets are coming back to life,” Ericka Garza, Au Bon Pain’s brand president, said. She added that the company sees opportunity in its “nontraditional locations” including airports, universities and hospitals. “Smaller footprints with less dine-in seating are the future of fast-casual dining,” Garza added.
Ampex Brands plans to initially focus on reopening and rebooting Au Bon Pain’s existing locations in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, which are two key markets for the company. Depending on how stores in these markets perform, the company will expand its efforts in other markets, starting with corporate-owned locations, CNN Business reported.