Bagels and coffee are key ingredients for this company. Einstein Noah Restaurant Group is the largest bagel shop operator in the US, with more than 770 company-owned and franchised locations in about 40 states. Its flagship chain, Einstein Bros. Bagels, offers more than a dozen varieties of fresh-made bagels and spreads, along with coffee, pastries, and a menu of sandwiches and salads at its more than 625 outlets. In addition to Einstein Bros., the company operates the Noah's New York Bagels, Kettleman Bagel, and Manhattan Bagel chains. About 440 of the bagel shops are company-owned, while the rest are operated by franchisees or licensees. Investment firm Greenlight Capital controls 65% of Einstein Noah.
The company's large footprint of corporate-owned locations accounts for about 90% of sales. The rest comes primarily from its commissary operation that supplies franchised and licensed units with fresh dough and other goods. Einstein Noah is in the process of closing its commissaries to shave its expenses, but the company will continue to operate its dough manufacturing facility in California. The company is focused on expanding the number of licensed Einstein Bros. locations primarily through agreements with foodservice contractors such as ARAMARK, HMSHost, and SSP America.
In 2012 Einstein Noah plans to open about ten company-owned restaurants and roughly a dozen franchised units in established markets. The company also hopes to open at least 40 licensed restaurants in close proximity to university campuses, hospitals, military bases, and transportation hubs like airports and train stations. Some Einstein Bros. locations will add drive-thru lanes.
A pioneer in the fast-casual dining segment, Einstein Bros. helped spread the popularity of bagels beyond big city markets in the Northeast. The chain depends on breakfast traffic for about 65% of sales, putting it in competition with a broad array of chains serving the morning segment, including coffeehouse leader Starbucks, #1 doughnut shop Dunkin' Donuts (owned by Dunkin' Brands), #1 fast-food chain McDonald's, as well as #2 bagel chain Bruegger's. The company plans to begin offering specialty coffees and dedicated baristas to compete.
Einstein Noah is working to extend the Einstein Bros. brand beyond the morning hours with additional lunch and dinner menu options, including soups and deli-style sandwiches. However, that effort puts the chain in competition with other quick-serve lunch outlets, including sub sandwich leaders Subway and Quiznos as well as Panera Bread. To promote the Einstein Bros. brand, Einstein Noah enlisted the help of advertising agency Young & Rubicam in 2010. The company increased its advertising spend in 2010 and 2011.
Formerly known as New World Coffee-Manhattan Bagel, the company vaulted to the top of the bagel business through its acquisition of bankrupt Einstein/Noah Bagel Corp. in 2001. New World Coffee changed its name to New World Restaurant Group following the $160 million buyout. The company adopted its current name in conjunction with a 2007 stock offering that raised $90 million to fund expansion and pay down debt. – less