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Old 11-11-2017, 05:13 PM
 
Location: Quincy, Mass. (near Boston)
2,051 posts, read 3,467,992 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robr2 View Post
The issue there was a significant rent increase that Panera couldn't justify considering it wasn't drawing enough business as the crowd was mainly students. One article I read interviewed at least 4 people who were sad it was closing but had never eaten there.
Now that I think of it, the Panera near Union Oyster House closed last year and may be empty still. The Northeastern University area one and one across the W hotel as well as Boylston are still open.
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Old 11-11-2017, 06:04 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA
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The Panera in Arlington Heights closed a few years ago. I found it puzzling because it was one of the first Panera locations in Greater Boston and it seemed to fit in a small downtown center like Arlington Heights.
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Old 11-13-2017, 08:44 AM
 
Location: Boston
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bostonguy1960 View Post
Now that I think of it, the Panera near Union Oyster House closed last year and may be empty still. The Northeastern University area one and one across the W hotel as well as Boylston are still open.
That space is the site of the soon to be open White Bull Tavern (it's been in development for close to a year). Much better suited for that location as anything serving liquor will be able to meet rent demands as long as they're even moderately OK. That Panera was also located literally a 5 minute walk (at a slow pace) from the Panera Cares in 1-2-3 Center Plaza (Panera Cares is essentially just a Panera which operates on a pay-what-you-can model (the prices are "suggested donations") so that anybody can get a meal if they need it. But it is a full-service Panera Bread.

The problem with Panera in the city is why would you go? There are so, so many places to get a better soup or sandwich for equal or lower cost. I can think of 5 or 6 places within 5 minutes on foot that I would go to for soup or a sandwich before I'd go to a Panera. They're similarly priced, much better quality, and I'm supporting local business (where the service is better). Large fast food (and fast casual) chains have a hard time here because there are better options. There's a reason McDonald's (which had a location right near the Union Oyster House but closed it), Burger King (recently closed their Center Plaza location), and others are closing more urban stores than they're opening. A Dunkin near my office actually closed the other day.

Personally, I think ABP is a better model for urban locations than Panera. Yes you can order made to order sandwiches at ABP, but the pre-made, grab and go stuff is a far more significant part of their business than Panera. Simple economics explain why Starbucks and Dunkin are so successful- volume (and big markups on coffee). ABP is comparably priced and fits the gap between a Dunkin/Starbucks and a Panera. You can wait and get made to order, but a huge percentage of their sales is people grabbing a coffee, a pastry, or something from the fridge and moving on. They have the volume sales that Panera doesn't.
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Old 11-13-2017, 08:51 AM
 
Location: Boston, MA
7,905 posts, read 6,835,782 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrfox View Post
That space is the site of the soon to be open White Bull Tavern (it's been in development for close to a year). Much better suited for that location as anything serving liquor will be able to meet rent demands as long as they're even moderately OK. That Panera was also located literally a 5 minute walk (at a slow pace) from the Panera Cares in 1-2-3 Center Plaza (Panera Cares is essentially just a Panera which operates on a pay-what-you-can model (the prices are "suggested donations") so that anybody can get a meal if they need it. But it is a full-service Panera Bread.

The problem with Panera in the city is why would you go? There are so, so many places to get a better soup or sandwich for equal or lower cost. I can think of 5 or 6 places within 5 minutes on foot that I would go to for soup or a sandwich before I'd go to a Panera. They're similarly priced, much better quality, and I'm supporting local business (where the service is better). Large fast food (and fast casual) chains have a hard time here because there are better options. There's a reason McDonald's (which had a location right near the Union Oyster House but closed it), Burger King (recently closed their Center Plaza location), and others are closing more urban stores than they're opening. A Dunkin near my office actually closed the other day.

Personally, I think ABP is a better model for urban locations than Panera. Yes you can order made to order sandwiches at ABP, but the pre-made, grab and go stuff is a far more significant part of their business than Panera. Simple economics explain why Starbucks and Dunkin are so successful- volume (and big markups on coffee). ABP is comparably priced and fits the gap between a Dunkin/Starbucks and a Panera. You can wait and get made to order, but a huge percentage of their sales is people grabbing a coffee, a pastry, or something from the fridge and moving on. They have the volume sales that Panera doesn't.
Fast food is on the decline nationwide though, not just Boston.

But I wouldn't say chains don't work. Here or elsewhere. It's just that people seem to have grown tired of the older chains. A new generation of them is here or in the works.
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Old 11-13-2017, 09:02 AM
 
Location: Boston
7,347 posts, read 15,324,434 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjimmy24 View Post
Fast food is on the decline nationwide though, not just Boston.

But I wouldn't say chains don't work. Here or elsewhere. It's just that people seem to have grown tired of the older chains. A new generation of them is here or in the works.
It's definitely not just a Boston thing, but it's been fairly noticeable over the past few years in central Boston. The national trend is a big part of it, but it's also a rent/competition thing. Traditional fast food places will continue to thrive in places where there isn't much competition.

I wouldn't say that chains don't work at all here. National chains like Chipotle and Starbucks have done really well here. Some smaller, newer chains like Pokeworks are being met with open arms in the Boston area. It's not THAT new, but Shake Shack is killing it in the Boston area. So there are definitely newer chains that are successful. And for as much flack as Chic-Fil-A got when they attempted to move here before (coincidentally, they were looking at the Panera space, formerly Purple Shamrock, near Union Oyster House too), they've done really well in the 'burbs and will eventually quietly locate in Boston and be successful.

But Boston is a tougher city for chains (remember when Krispy Kreme tried to come into Boston in a big way?). There's a balance of chain vs. local everywhere, but Boston leans far more toward the local end than most cities in the country.
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Old 11-13-2017, 09:10 AM
 
Location: Boston, MA
7,905 posts, read 6,835,782 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrfox View Post
It's definitely not just a Boston thing, but it's been fairly noticeable over the past few years in central Boston. The national trend is a big part of it, but it's also a rent/competition thing. Traditional fast food places will continue to thrive in places where there isn't much competition.

I wouldn't say that chains don't work at all here. National chains like Chipotle and Starbucks have done really well here. Some smaller, newer chains like Pokeworks are being met with open arms in the Boston area. It's not THAT new, but Shake Shack is killing it in the Boston area. So there are definitely newer chains that are successful. And for as much flack as Chic-Fil-A got when they attempted to move here before (coincidentally, they were looking at the Panera space, formerly Purple Shamrock, near Union Oyster House too), they've done really well in the 'burbs and will eventually quietly locate in Boston and be successful.

But Boston is a tougher city for chains (remember when Krispy Kreme tried to come into Boston in a big way?). There's a balance of chain vs. local everywhere, but Boston leans far more toward the local end than most cities in the country.
Coming from Cleveland, when I first moved here, I felt like all I saw were chains. it is pretty shocking to see the sheer quantity of Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks especially (I can think of 2 Dunkin locations in Cle, maybe there are more now, not sure). When I went home for the first time when people asked me about Boston, I think I remember saying "there are lots of Dunkin Donuts." It just really stands out to people from elsewhere. Now 5 years in, I've trained myself to not notice.

The "Upscale chains" like Shake Shack certainly do well. Haven't been yet though.
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Old 11-13-2017, 10:08 AM
 
1,101 posts, read 439,780 times
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I bet after a bit the Dunkies start to blend in to the landscape, just like trees or pigeons
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Old 11-13-2017, 12:19 PM
 
450 posts, read 462,434 times
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The Paneras in Coolidge Corner, Chestnut Hill, and West Roxbury also closed. I had patronized all of them, so was sad to see them go.
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Old 11-13-2017, 02:03 PM
 
Location: Boston
7,347 posts, read 15,324,434 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjimmy24 View Post
Coming from Cleveland, when I first moved here, I felt like all I saw were chains. it is pretty shocking to see the sheer quantity of Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks especially (I can think of 2 Dunkin locations in Cle, maybe there are more now, not sure). When I went home for the first time when people asked me about Boston, I think I remember saying "there are lots of Dunkin Donuts." It just really stands out to people from elsewhere. Now 5 years in, I've trained myself to not notice.

The "Upscale chains" like Shake Shack certainly do well. Haven't been yet though.
I haven't spent enough time in Cleveland to compare, but I'm sure there are more Dunkin's here than there or anywhere else. We have WAY too many, probably because they're based here. It's like Starbucks out west- literally every corner. Maybe I'm desensitized to Dunkin, but apart from them, I would say Boston's not as chain heavy as most other major metros. Especially anything south of the Mason-Dixon Line.
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Old 11-13-2017, 05:11 PM
 
Location: Quincy, Mass. (near Boston)
2,051 posts, read 3,467,992 times
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A tourist ten years ago noted that Chicago has even more Dunkin Donuts than Boston per capita, or it seemed so to him.

Possible? Chicago?
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