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.
I did mention Jsda on this board when I first bought it at .75. I believe that Freshbread mentioned it as well. It was no rocket science. They were close to break even 3 1/2 years ago, and then in short order got deals from Barnes & Noble and then Panera. Any small company that after a successful test was going to be Panera's exclusive bottled soda, with 3 new stores opening every week, seemed worthy of an investment. When I tasted and loved the product and saw the prominent display at Pnra's cash registers, I bought more. Subsequent developments have only made me keep adding shares. I think a takeover is likely within the next 2 years. With expansion at Starbucks (they just added a 3rd flavor), and cans expected to go national after the exclusive -- for cans-- Target deal ends in October, there is much room for growth even if Jsda remains independent. In that event, I expect an operations person to be brought in to take them to the next level since the CEO is a terrific visionary more than a day-to-day cost cutting type. With organic teas, ice pops and candy all in the mix now there is enormous potential. Unique labels covered by a patent, making it possible to have a family picture on every bottle for a group event for example, is another hidden asset along with special holiday promotions (the Valentines Day package on the web site should be a big winner; turkey & gravy has gotten a lot of press). It's not cheap on a PE basis but I never would have owned Panera either if that were the only focus.
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.
We certainly agree on the terrific management and Panera's extremely bright future.
I do believe that the soufflets going system-wide was announced during a quarterly conference call. Via Panera as well. As Ron said in the recent call, Panera is testing around 25 things at any time and they're only announced if and when a decision is made to introduce something in all stores. What seems different about the Crispani is that while not wanting to disclose anything during the call and saying no decision has been made, the fact that the web site lists locations offering Crispani sounds like while not formal yet, a go is very likely. Just like the soufflets and Via Panera, once the decision is made it will likely come to all stores quite rapidly. Perhaps our disagreement is largely semantics. One way to look at it is that once a product or service is decided on, any new store (with I believe a few exceptions for Via Panera for logistics reasons) will have it. That is not yet the case for Crispani, but hopefully soon will be.