Panera Bread began in 1993 when Au Bon Pain purchased the St. Louis Bread Company. In 1999, Au Bon Pain sold its other restaurants and renamed itself to Panera Bread Company, realizing the huge potential of the brand.
In 2007, the chain purchased 70 stores from Paradise Bakery & Cafe, a Phoenix, AZ, based company.
In 2008, Panera expanded operations into Canada.
Panera currently has over 1500 locations in 41 US states and Canada. The Panera Bread corporate office is still located in St. Louis, Missouri. The company’s locations in St Louis still operate under the name St. Louis Bread Company.