The "rollouts" of new products we have become used to at Panera are of the "rolling" type. They are introduced by one franchisee and then another, and in one section of the country by company owned stores then in another. Not like a new model of automobile. It's better for many reasons to do it that way. This management does not miss a single thing. It's clear that you are doing more investigation than the wall streeters are....oh well.
My understanding is somewhat different than yours. When asked about the pizzas on the conference call, Ron said that no decision had been made but that he would let us know if and when one was. That leads me to believe that if the test in several markets is successful, there will be a decision and announcement of a national rollout. It won't just keep slowly spreading to new markets without anything being said. A somewhat similar thing occurred with Jones Soda (a stock I bought when the Panera deal was announced 3 years ago and continue to own and like). Initially Panera tested Jones in 60 stores. It then decided to make Jones the exclusive bottled soda in all current and future stores. I would expect a similar decision to be made and announced for crispani. If it's a go, all stores would probably be selling crispani in no more than 2 or 3 months after the decision is made.
Your recollection of the Jones deal is accurate; completely accurate. However, a Corporate relationship was formalized and therefore that's different from a rolling internal product introduction that depends on many variables, too numerous to mention but you can well imagine what most of them are. There was no announcemtn when they began selling the hot souffle' at breakfast....This is more comparable to that imo....It appears to me that when a franchisee is "ready" the product will happen in his area...Also, Via Panera rolled out much the same way...In all three instances, no Corporate entity other than Panera is involved...so no reason for a formal pronouncement. I ran into a research type in wall street about 6 months ago and he was musing about what he saw at a Panera store in upstate new york along the lines of what has become Crispania. One thing you and I can definitely agree upon; we are in the best of hands with the management at Panera. They know better than I will ever know about their business. My money is with them. They have earned my complete trust. I'm worrying about 18" of snow this weekend.