Yesterday Starbucks announced a joint venture with Pepsi to sell canned coffee through Pepsi's distribution system. This is an opertunity created as a result of intelligent "Branding/Brand development" skillfully engaged in by the management of Starbucks. My family has enjoyed, for several years, Starbucks low fat Latte ice cream, purchased at WalMart! They are good. The Panera management has observed, studied, and learned, and is now about to launch (within the next year) its own beginning salvo at "Branding/Brand development". I am entirely confident that it will be done with the same genius that has typified Panera's Principles, Policies, Practices, and Procedures in evidence since this management took control of (our) investment destiny at the beginning of this decade. This Branding arena is another significant avenue of value enhancement for us that, while seldom if ever addressed in the financial press, clearly lies ahead for longer term Panera stakeholders. We are, as I keep urging, in just the second or third inning of this investment. Yes,there will be volitality. Use it as your friend; welcome it. The shares of Panera are a buy on weakness; Panera's stock is, as yesterday's branding action by Starbucks shouts, -not- a sale on strength. Branding, domestic and global, can and will enhance the value of our investment as our management exploits, now that we are within months of having 1,000 stores in operation, this additional dimension of Panera's obvious opportunity.
It is interesting that you use the starbucks coffee in a can as your example of branding. If this product is successful, it will truly be a triumph of branding. Every time in the past that an attempt has been made to sell canned coffee in the US, it has failed miserably. In fact, this product sells well only in Japan. For example, a few years ago there was America's Best which had canned coffee in cans which was actually quite good. Both the product and the company have disappeared. Other attempts by larger companies have met with similar fates. People in the US just do not like to buy cans for other than beer or soda.
Another example is Bravo foods which sells milkshake type products. It produces shelf stable products which need no refrigeration, but they are sold in the refrigerated dairy cases because US consumers will not buy milk products which they do not believe are fresh, i.e., not shelf stable.
Given the sorry history of canned coffee, it will be a true test of the Starbucks brand power to see if these canned coffees succeed.
That being said, I have to agree with you that Panera will have brand power soon and that this power will only grow over time if the company continues on its successful growth path -- which I also expect.
I have fallen a little behind because of other matters on my plate. Business has been excellent.
I must also say that Starbucks canned coffee caused me issues as well. It isn't just the can itself which doesn't seem quite right for fresh coffee; it is the Walmart atmosphere which just doesn't make the grade. Starbucks and other restaurant style products "going grocery" do not have the appeal to those who want more than a McD surrounding. These are the folks who buy such things. Even when one is not staying for the ambience, just purchasing the product in the Starbucks facility adds a touch of class to the product. It is the cache. It is a reason to pay for highly priced coffee. Putting it out on the shelves will not enhance its reputation.
Enjoy the Game.
Speaking of which, it would appear that the "PNRA party" person didn't have his "$77" team win the game. This is the problem concerning making predictions for PNRA when it is greatly impacted by a few large holders.