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Proven company head questions short-term business focus

Ron Shaich clearly knows what he is talking about when dialogue turns to the enumeration of factors that best fuel sustained business success.

Proof of that emerges powerfully and quickly via empirical evidence that focuses closely on the performance of Panera Bread Co. over the years. Shaich is the chief executive officer of that popular national food chain, and he has driven the eatery's long-term success in a manner that has undoubtedly engendered strong envy among other restaurant industry principals in New York and across the country.

Here's one reason why: Reportedly, and as noted in a recent business article chronicling Panera's strategies and long-term performance, the company "has posted positive same-store sales each of the past 18 years."

Readers duly impressed by that will note that Panera's high-octane results registered uninterruptedly even through the troubling financial years of the so-called Great Recession.

Shaich is clearly buoyed by prospects for continuing success at Panera's 2,000-plus locations across the country, especially in the wake of the company's recent purchase by a closely held business from Australia that already had a commanding presence in the restaurant world prior to buying Panera.

Shaich is not a fan of Wall Street strategies employed by activist investors interested more in short-term gains than long-term profit. He says that such actors were undermining Panera's business success prior to its buyout by JAB Holding Co. He expects Panera to reach new heights under JAB's ownership.

As noted above, JAB is a closely held company, which is an attribute that Shaich believes will enable him to worry less about tunnel-visioned investors in the future and focus instead on strategies that will best promote sustained profitability over the long term.

We'll look at some of the features that centrally mark closely held entities in our next blog post.

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