Panera Bread/Au Bon Pain: Ron Shaich (2018)

How I Built This


Ron Shake isn't a household name like you say Howard Schultz but you could argue that. What Howard Schultz did for coughing Ron shake did for cheddar broccoli soup or the SEO cheese he's Bagel because like Howard? Ron Wasn't just focused on product. He was interested in creating a space of place where people could hang out for a long time. Maybe even have a PTA meeting or social gathering and really linger over that Bagel or cup soup. This is the famous third-place concept concept that both Howard Schultz and Ron shake wanted to tap into in. That's how Panera became one of the fastest growing restaurant chains in the world. In fact if you've invested the seven thousand dollars in Pinera stock in nineteen ninety nine. You'd be sitting on more than half a million dollars by two two thousand seventeen now. The thing is if you met Ron shake say in high school. This is not the path you've predicted for him. Ron Wasn't even interested in business. Is Passion was politics. His parents were raging liberals and Ron grew up going to rallies and volunteering on campaigns. All over New Jersey eventually went to Clark University where naturally he majored in politics and he was quickly elected to student government. And that could have been Ron's life life except for one day when something happened to Ron and a group of friends something kind of small but something that when you look back on it probably probably changed his entire life. Yeah so we. We were in a local convenience store called store. Twenty four cross the street from the main entrance to the Clark campus and they accused US shoplifting and tossed us out cecily guys just being rowdy earnings or wild. No we were shopping but I came back to campus episode and I was in my dorm with a couple of friends and I said you know. Why are we shopping there? How they can they treat us like this? What supports that store? We said what do we need what we can we can do this ourselves. We can have our own convenience store and I said you know this isn't going to be that hard. Let's go do it. And we approach the university. They weren't so keen on this but I moved the question to student body They voted in support of it and I basically agreed to spend that summer between my sophomore and junior here opening this convenience store guy. Wow So. What'd you guys Sal We sold Everything from drinks to Munchies two cookies and candy and you know our assistant manager would come to my apartment at five in the morning and we actually would go to this deep discount supermarket and buy I don't know ten or fifteen baskets full of merchandise that we'd stocked the store with and We hired twenty or thirty different students to work there. I will be very franken. Saint Joe's more interested in that store than when I was in my own academically. And and your guy who's all still focused on public policy in government but I guess this it was Kinda cool you liked. He kind of liked doing business running a business. Yeah and and you know. I didn't see myself as that kind of guy and it took me a wile to make sense of that but in so many ways running a business is no different than campaign in fact a campaign is a the business that that essentially has one day in which it ends a business campaign that goes on and never ends so at this point in his life. Ron Wasn't quite sure what he wanted to do. Business or politics but people around him saw how how much he loved running that convenience store and a lot of people said. Hey why don't you get an MBA. So Ron did he enrol at Harvard. Business School in Nineteen seventy six. And when he finished unlike a lot of his classmates who went into banking or finance ron decided to go into retail and he took a job in the mid west and a place called held the original cookie company. Twenty stores in shopping malls We grew it to about one hundred and twenty five. I took the job as the third year of the NBA. What I mean by that is I took a job as a district manager? Basically Iran ten or fifteen of these cookie stores half the United States and I spent went My time running around the country and I ended up opening thousands of these cookie stores around the country so as certain point you're learning about the cookie business I guess and then at a certain point you get this idea like hey I can do this myself. I can have my own cookie store yes and and I can literally remember traveling Cross Indiana. I'm away to Fort Wayne Dope a new cookie store and it hit me and I said why are we opening this in a Mav. There's a huge opportunity open these in in an urban setting. Why don't we open one and I can remember going to my boss? I remember him taking me to meet. Beat the CEO of the company. Said I wanNA open an urban cookie. Store looks him and he says we don't do that here. We Open Mall based retail units. I thought to myself well. If you're not GONNA do it. I'd like to go do it. Why shouldn't we and I'm the Kinda guy by Sam going to do it? I want to go do it and it led led me to actually resigning my job and I moved back to Boston and I started looking for real estate and the reality was. Nobody would Li space for cookies. Find any sir for cookie store because they thought it wouldn't make enough money to pay the rent. 'cause I had no credibility. Yeah I had no real money I had you know no balance sheet to sign a lease and so I went to my dad and I said I I want my inheritance. Whatever it's going to be I want the opportunity to use it and I had about twenty five thousand dollars Ned Essentially let me. He gave me seventy five thousand dollars and that one hundred thousand dollars became the GRUB stake the equity. That allowed us to build that. I four hundred square-foot cookie store. Wow in downtown Boston. What did you name the store? We named it the cookie jar and I can remember. We took the toll house recipe. Right it off the bag. I bought a small mixer and I would pass out cookies in front of the stories that we were building. It and I'd start to adjust the recipe based on what I learned talking to customers and and you were the baker. You were making cookies yourself. Yeah we opened. There were three employees. I made it was me and to folks I will never forget at that day. It just seemed like people never stopped walking a coming in and purchase fifty thousand people day going by and I'll never forget it. I got to the end of the day walking past or foot traffic. Yeah but I got to the end of that at first afternoon. We opened one o'clock guide and by six we closed and my back was hurting. Oh and legs were hurting. And I can't in the money and I I realize we only brought in four hundred dollars. I mean you forget when we talk about business what it is the self the four hundred batches of cookies buck each and the amount of energy and work that goes into

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