A trip to one of these restaurants is pure heaven for dough lovers. A subsidiary of fast-casual sandwich chain Panera Bread, Paradise Bakery & Café operates and franchises more than 70 quick-casual bakery cafés that specialize in sandwiches made from fresh-baked artisan breads. The chain also serves a selection of salads and soups, along with bagels, muffins, and other baked goods. The cafés are located mostly in shopping malls, downtown office buildings, and on college campuses in about 10 states, mostly in the Southwest. More than 30 of the eateries are company-owned, while the rest are franchised. Former CEO Dan Patterson founded the chain in 1976.
Panera Bread acquire the remaining 49% of Paradise Bakery that it didn't already own in 2009 for about $22 million. The company, which operates and franchises more than 1,300 eateries, purchased its original stake in the smaller chain in 2007 for more than $20 million as part of an effort to expand its brand portfolio. – less