A founder’s bold gamble on Panera
Interview by Beth Kow itt, w riter @FortuneMagazine July 18, 2012: 5:15 AM ET
Ron Shaich: Shareholder value is a “narrow definition of success.”
FORTUNE — Ron Shaich’s bakery empire started in 1980 with a 400-square-foot store in Boston called the Cookie Jar.
Over the course of three decades, the business merged with Au Bon Pain, acquired St. Louis Bread Co., and eventually
morphed into Panera Bread ( ). In the past five years Panera’s stock has returned 243%, making it the second-bestperforming U.S. restaurant after Chipotle ( ). Shaich (pronounced “shake”), 58, had a big 2012: Panera, with $1.8
billion in revenue and $3.4 billion in systemwide sales, including franchisees, joined the Fortune 1,000 and in February
opened its first restaurant in the Big Apple. Shaich’s story:
As a kid in Livingston, N.J., I had no real interest in business. I always thought I wanted to do something in government or
social policy. I worked for Congressman Frank Thompson Jr. and on campaigns in Washington, and then went off to Clark
University in Worcester, Mass.
My sophomore year I was at a local convenience store with some friends. They really didn’t want students there, and we
were tossed out for supposedly shoplifting. I said to a friend, “The heck with these guys. Why don’t we open our own store?”
I had been elected treasurer of the student body, and I thought we could raise the money. We opened the beginning of my
junior year, and I ran it. It was the most wonderful thing I ever did. For someone who can’t dance or sing, it was the closest I
ever came to being an artist.
The student store became an institution at Clark. I started speaking around the country about student government opening
their own stores, and people kept telling me I could probably get into Harvard Business School, so in 1977 I applied and got
After I graduated, I went to work in Ohio for the Original Cookie Co., a small chain of stores run by Cole National. [It merged
with Mrs. Fields Cookies in the 1990s.] I had this idea of opening urban cookie stores and was tempted to go out on my
own. I came back to Boston, but no one would lease me any space. I ended up going to work for a Democratic political
consultant. I was there a year when a little jewelry store that had two locations in the same block agreed to sublease me 400
square feet. In August 1980, I opened the Cookie Jar. I thought I’d go up one day a week to the store and back to D.C. to run
campaigns. One day very quickly became three, which became four. This was mine, and somehow it felt completely
It was tiny, and I wanted more. To expand my offerings I became a licensee of a French bakery company, Au Bon Pain, in
late 1980 and put in French baked goods (like croissants) at the Cookie Jar in the morning. Au Bon Pain had three stores,
and the founder, Louis Kane, was trying to sell the business because it was under so much debt. I remember going to my
dad, who was a CPA, and he said, “Ron, if you can get any of it, it’s not worth having, and if it’s worth having, you’re not
going to get any of it.” But I wanted this desperately. So in 1981 the Cookie Jar and the three debt-laden Au Bon Pains were
combined into one company. My father and I got 60% of the company, and Lou and his investors split the remaining 40%.

By 1984 I was worried because the French baked goods we sold at our half-a-dozen stores were becoming pedestrianized.
We decided to use the croissant and bread as a platform to sell soups, salads, and sandwiches. We opened our first French
bakery-café in Boston’s Copley Place, and by 1991, the year Morgan Stanley took us public, we had 125 stores.
But the very thing that had made Au Bon Pain a success up until that point was the thing that limited it. It was a powerful
niche business, working well in big cities. In 1993 I met with a couple of guys who had a 19-store chain called St. Louis
Bread Co., which was a lunchtime soup, salad, sandwich place. I was impressed. We knew how to take something from 50
to 1,000, and it was the gateway to the suburban marketplace for Au Bon Pain. We bought it for $23 million, and then didn’t
change it. For two years we studied it. I was trying to figure out what was going on in consumer society. There had been a
huge amount of consolidation in every industry. Every shopping strip and mall was the same. In response there was a drive
for specialness.
We began to conceptualize St. Louis Bread as a gathering-place business. We created a new physical environment for the
café. We started rolling out bagels, breakfast, and a take-home-bread business. In 1998, as we built out St. Louis Bread, we
made the decision to change the name to Panera, a word that has roots in “breadbasket” in Latin.
By the mid-1990s we were running the company as four divisions: Au Bon Pain, international, manufacturing, and Panera.
Meanwhile, the stock had been flat for three years. I realized Panera was the gem, and it was buried. I knew I should sell
everything else off and bet the whole thing on Panera.
I brought it to the board, and there was a huge disagreement. Au Bon Pain was the namesake. We were selling it all to bet
on the little one. It was a painful process. Many of the people I had grown up with at the company were sold off with Au Bon
Pain. In 1999 we ended up with a public company with one division, Panera, which had about 180 bakery-cafés and a
pristine balance sheet with a bunch of cash. I got on a plane and moved my family to St. Louis. We have come from a
continuous process of smart bets like that one. Take antibiotic-free, all-natural chicken. We had it before there was a market
for it, so we had to build a manufacturing supply chain.
A few years ago I started thinking about how I wanted to have another experience in my life. I wanted to know what it felt like
without Panera. In 2010 I handed off the CEO job to Bill Moreton, whom I worked with for 10 years. The idea was I’d spend
two to three days a week on Panera on the creative stuff. I’d have time to look into my other interests, like politics.
It took me four weeks to realize my continued intellectual interest in Panera. I was liberated to create much more value than I
ever could in the existing role of CEO when I was freed from day-to-day details. Bill got it, but we spent hours talking before
deciding I would come back as co-CEO. He could have said, “I signed on as CEO. I don’t need the founder back.” And I
could have said, “I’m the largest individual shareholder — I don’t need to be co-CEO.” It worked because we both want the
same thing for Panera. Now I’m focused on all things that create value through how we compete — marketing, food. Bill
covers all things related to how we operate.
One of the first projects I launched after stepping down as CEO was Panera Cares. Panera has always had a commitment
to community. We give $100 million a year in cash and product, but I got this feeling that it was disconnected from us. One
day I’m watching NBC News, and it’s the height of the recession. I hear about a pay-what-you-can café in Denver. They
spent years trying to get this thing open. We open a café every 75 hours. We decided to do the full Panera experience,
open a bakery-café identical to any other Panera, and list a suggested donation. We opened our first Panera Cares café
in 2010, and just opened our fourth. They’ll serve about 1 million people this year.
These days I spend a lot of time thinking about how I’d compete with Panera if I weren’t Panera. Much of our competitive
differentiation will stem from what technology can enable for our customers. We’re going to bring that to market. I’m looking
at things we didn’t get done at Panera my first time around as CEO. I’ve got a shot to get them done now.?
My Advice
Look beyond the shareholder. We’re involved in the conscious-capitalism movement, which is based on this idea that the
worst thing that ever happened in corporate America is this obsession with shareholder value. It’s a narrow definition of
success and is actually dysfunctional. Profit and stock price are not things I can make. They’re a byproduct of delivering for
all of my constituencies.
It’s okay to think small. This idea that you have this broad strategy is not always right. See opportunities to make a
difference, and that will bring new things down the road. I’m quite convinced that Steve Jobs didn’t know he would end up
with the iPad when he did the iPod.7/25/12 How we got started: Panera’s Ron Shaich – Jul. 18, 2012
money.cnn.com/2012/07/17/smallbusiness/panera-ron-shaich.fortune/ 3/3
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One secret to a happy retirement
Don’t obsess over the numbers. When I was a young person, I used to be worried about the P&L, and then I realized that
what drives the key P&L is getting the right stuff done right — the key initiatives. That’s where I began to focus most of my
Focus on creating the future. The future doesn’t just happen to me. I have to figure out where that organization is going.
Businesses are increasingly thinking short term. It’s a competitive disadvantage. The important things play out over years,
not quarters.


The 6 People You Need in Your Corner

The 6 People You Need in Your Corner

Nothing incredible is accomplished alone. You need others to help you, and you need to help others. With the right team, you can form a web of connections to make the seemingly impossible practically inevitable.

The Instigator:

Someone who pushes you, who makes you think. Who motivates you to get up and go, and try, and make things happen. You want to keep this person energized, and enthusiastic. This is the voice of inspiration.

The Cheerleader:

This person is a huge fan, a strong supporter, and a rabid evangelist for you and your work. Work to make this person rewarded, to keep them engaged. This is the voice of motivation.

The Doubter:

This is the devil’s advocate, who asks the hard questions and sees problems before they arise. You need this person’s perspective. They are looking out for you, and want you to be as safe as you are successful. This is the voice of reason.

The Taskmaster:

This is the loud and belligerent voice that demands you gets things done. This person is the steward of momentum, making sure deadlines are met and goals are reached. This is the voice of progress.

The Connector:

This person can help you find new avenues and new allies. This person breaks through roadblocks into finds ways to make magic happen. You need this person to reach people and places you can’t. This is the voice of cooperation and community.

The Example:

This is your mentor, you hero, your North Star. This is the person who you seek to emulate. This is your guiding entity, someone whose presence acts as a constant reminder that you, too, can do amazing things. You want to make this person proud. This is the voice of true authority.

The Summer Day – by Mary Oliver

The Summer Day
by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean –
the one who has flung herself
out of the grass, the one who is eating sugar out
of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and
forth instead of up and down –
who is gazing around with her
enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and
thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open,
and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention,
how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down
in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how
to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

If you are busy, you are doing something wrong



If You’re Busy, You’re Doing Something Wrong: The Surprisingly Relaxed Lives of Elite Achievers

Patterns of Success for StudentsPatterns of Success for the Working WorldNovember 11th. 2011, 12:14am

The Berlin Study

In the early 1990s, a trio of psychologists descended on the Universität der Künste, a historic arts academy in the heart of West Berlin. They came to study the violinists.

As described in their subsequent publication in Psychological Review, the researchers asked the academy’s music professors to help them identify a set of stand out violin players — the students who the professors believed would go onto careers as professional performers.

We’ll call this group the elite players.

For a point of comparison, they also selected a group of students from the school’s education department. These were students who were on track to become music teachers. They were serious about violin, but as their professors explained, their ability was not in the same league as the first group.

We’ll call this group the average players.

The three researchers subjected their subjects to a series of in-depth interviews. They then gave them diaries which divided each 24-hour period into 50 minute chunks, and sent them home to keep a careful log of how they spent their time.

Flush with data, the researchers went to work trying to answer a fundamental question:Why are the elite players better than the average players?

The obvious guess is that the elite players are more dedicated to their craft. That is, they’re willing to put in the long,Tiger Mom-style hours required to get good, while the average players are off goofing around and enjoying life.

The data, as it turns out, had a different story to tell…



Decoding the Patterns of the Elite

We can start by disproving the assumption that the elite players dedicate more hours to music. The time diaries revealed that both groups spent, on average, the same number of hours on music per week (around 50).

The difference was in how they spent this time. The elite players were spending almost three times more hours than the average players on deliberate practice — the uncomfortable, methodical work of stretching your ability.

This might not be surprising, as the importance of deliberate practice had been replicated and reported many times (c.f., Gladwell).

But the researchers weren’t done.

They also studied how the students scheduled their work. The average players, they discovered, spread their work throughout the day. A graph included in the paper, which shows the average time spent working versus the waking hours of the day, is essentially flat.

The elite players, by contrast, consolidated their work into two well-defined periods.When you plot the average time spent working versus the hours of the day for these players, there are two prominent peaks: one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

In fact, the more elite the player, the more pronounced the peaks. For the best of the best — the subset of the elites who the professors thought would go on to play in one of Germany’s two best professional orchestras — there was essentially no deviation from a rigid two-sessions a day schedule.

This isolation of work from leisure had pronounced effects in other areas of the players’ lives.

Consider, for example, sleep: the elite players slept an hour more per night than the average players.

Also consider relaxation. The researchers asked the players to estimate how much time they dedicated each week to leisure activities — an important indicator of their subjective feeling of relaxation. By this metric, the elite players were significantly more relaxed than the average players, and the best of the best were the most relaxed of all.

Hard Work is Different than Hard to Do Work

To summarize these results:

  • The average players are working just as many hours as the elite players (around 50 hours a week spent on music),
  • but they’re not dedicating these hours to the right type of work (spending almost 3 times less hours than the elites on crucial deliberate practice),
  • and furthermore, they spread this work haphazardly throughout the day. So even though they’re not doing more work than the elite players, they end up sleeping less and feeling more stressed. Not to mention that they remain worse at the violin.

I’ve seen this same phenomenon time and again in my study of high achievers. It came up so often in my study of top students, for example, that I even coined a name for it: the paradox of the relaxed Rhodes Scholar.

This study sheds some light on this paradox. It provides empirical evidence that there’s a difference between hard work and hard to do work:

  • Hard work is deliberate practice. It’s not fun while you’re doing it, but you don’t have to do too much of it in any one day (the elite players spent, on average, 3.5 hours per day engaged in deliberate practice, broken into two sessions). It also provides you measurable progress in a skill, which generates a strong sense of contentment and motivation. Therefore, although hard work is hard, it’s not draining and it can fit nicely into a relaxed and enjoyable day.
  • Hard to do work, by contrast, is draining. It has you running around all day in a state of false busyness that leaves you, like the average players from the Berlin study, feeling tired and stressed. It also, as we just learned, has very little to do with real accomplishment.

This analysis leads to an important conclusion. Whether you’re a student or well along in your career, if your goal is to build a remarkable life, then busyness and exhaustion should be your enemy. If you’re chronically stressed and up late working, you’re doing something wrong. You’re the average players from the Universität der Künste — not the elite. You’ve built a life around hard to do work, not hard work.

The solution suggested by this research, as well as my own, is as simple as it is startling: Do less. But do what you do with complete and hard focus. Then when you’re done be done, and go enjoy the rest of the day.

(Photo by RKHawaii)

Success Mantra

 livemint    15 Aug 2011
Success mantra

Do something positive: Success in any career is closely tied to doing what you enjoy and developing your skills and talents

By Richard Branson

With another school year about to begin, young people around the world are choosing their courses and planning for their careers. Many who hope to become business leaders and entrepreneurs have asked for advice on everything from how to make the most money, to whether a career in business is right for them, to the secret to my success. Rather than address the specifics of any one person’s situation, let’s look at the underlying question: what “success” really means.

First, success in any career is closely tied to doing what you enjoy and developing your skills and talents. If you are considering a career as an entrepreneur, remember that leaders in this field are usually flexible and open-minded. They are able to imagine themselves in their customers’ shoes. And they have empathy not only for their colleagues and employees, but for the people who are affected by the business’ operations. Business favours people who, when they see a problem or an injustice, try to do something about it. Does this describe you?

It can be difficult to assess one’s own strengths and weaknesses. If you don’t already have a mentor, it would be good to contact someone who has experience in the area you’re thinking about entering. Professional organizations might be able to put you in touch with someone willing to help you review your best options.

Remember, a good mentor is not necessarily someone who is well known, but rather someone who is leading a rich and enriching life. Reach out to a business leader who has made a difference that is important to you.

At this stage, many young people are focused on developing abilities in areas where they haven’t succeeded or exhibited much skill. Not long ago, I wrote to someone who, like me, is dyslexic. I said that it is important to try to excel at what you’re good at. Don’t let your limits knock your self-confidence. Put them to one side.

This is the time to focus on your strengths, because success as an entrepreneur is about ideas and excellence. Not excellence measured in awards, or other people’s approval, but the sort one achieves for oneself by exploring what the world has to offer. So rather than looking to others for your markers of achievement, consider what success means for you. Thinking about personal matters, like your hopes for your family and private life, might help you bring this vision into focus.

Are you dreaming about great wealth? Success in business has nothing to do with profits. Profits are necessary to invest in the next project—to pay the bills, repay investors, and reward people for their hard work—but that’s all. The reality is that in business, money flows like a running stream. During one season, it might be a torrent, but then you have to invest in order to keep your business going, and your cash flow dries up overnight.

It’s quite an American thing to talk about wealth. In Britain we’re slightly embarrassed about it, and I think that’s a good thing. When I go to a party, I see people, not bank statements, and I’d like to think that others feel the same about me. Money is only interesting for what it lets you do and create.

If money is a poor guide to achievement, celebrity is worse. The media tends to personalize and simplify matters, and that’s understandable. It’s much easier for reporters to talk about Steve Jobs at Apple, Larry Page at Google, and Richard Branson​ at Virgin, but that doesn’t reflect the reality that a legion of senior people at those companies make many major decisions every day—they just don’t talk to the media about it.

If neither money nor celebrity are good measures of success, what about personal power? Well, I have spent more than 40 years building the Virgin brand, and if I was gone tomorrow, our team would carry on without me, just as Google will continue when its founders move on, and how Microsoft has carried on since Bill Gates​ stepped down as chief executive officer in 2008.

Success in business is best measured by whether you have created something that you can be really proud of—and whether you’ve made a real difference for others. This is what gets me up in the morning. It’s why I’ve never wanted to run a big company, and it’s why I get huge enjoyment out of creating and tending to lots of smaller ones. Virgin, by remembering its roots as a small entrepreneurial company, has made a positive difference in many diverse fields, and for many people.

The more actively and practically engaged you are, the more successful you will feel. Right now, I find myself doing more and more to help safeguard our future on this planet. Does that make me successful? It certainly makes me happy.

When you are facing choices about your path to a career, and in all the choices that follow, focus on your own goals, and try not to be distracted by those of others. Consider the needs of your community, and how you might best contribute. What is your vision for change? Start working towards that. In business, as in life, what matters is that you do something positive. 

Richard Branson is the founder of the Virgin Group and companies such as Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America, Virgin Mobile and Virgin Active. He maintains a blog at www.virgin.com/richard-branson/blog.

Goi kho qua

Nguyên liệu:
_ 3 trái khổ qua
_ 20g tôm khô, đậu phộng rang
_ Gia vị, chanh, ớt, nước mắm ngon


Chế biến:

– Khổ qua bỏ hột, bào mỏng, xóc ít muối, xả lại nhiều lần với nước sạch , vắt ráo.
– Xào tôm khô với tỏi cho thơm
– Trộn khổ qua và su su với tôm, vắt thêm chanh, cho nước mắm, đường nêm vừa ăn.
– Món gỏi khổ qua có mùi vị lạ miệng, hơi có vị đắng nhưng nếu ăn quen sẽ cảm nhận được cái ngon trong vị đắng đó của trái khổ qua.

Chú ý:
– Yếu tố quan trọng nhất khi thực hiện các món nộm là: Không dùng nhiều dầu mỡ.
– Trái khổ qua còn có tác dụng giải nhiệt, giải độc, sáng mát, là một lọai thực phẩm tốt dùng cho mùa nắng và đặc biệt cho người bị tiểu đường.

Ways to get important things done

Source: http://blogs.hbr.org/schwartz/2011/05/the-only-way-to-get-important.html

Ways to get important things done:

1. Make it a routine (ritual) to do important things: have 8 hours of sleep, and exercise right after waking up.

2. Start the day with the first thing you want to do the night before.

3. Choose 1 priority to do on that day, and do your best.

4. Write down – so that your mind will not be occupied.

5. Think positively.