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Fast Casual Food Pioneer Ron Shaich Explains How to Find a Niche — and then Scale


The restaurant business is notoriously competitive and often propelled by passing fads. But, first at the helm of Au Bon Pain, and then as the founder of Panera Bread, Ron Shaich managed to create an entirely new category of dining between fast food and table service and then dominate that market in the United States. He says the strategies that brought him success can be applied in any type of organization:  listen to and observe customers so you know what they want, create a truly differentiated offering, execute with excellence, and find the right opportunities to grow. He’s employed this playbook as an investor in newer ventures like Cava and Tatte, as well. Shaich wrote the book Know What Matters: Lessons from a Lifetime of Transformations.



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