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Old 11-09-2017, 02:19 AM
 
Location: Quincy, Mass. (near Boston)
2,050 posts, read 3,461,317 times
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(This Boston forum seems quieter than ever in recent months...not much reason to drop in nowadays; other major C-D cities have always seemed much busier. So here is something light to discuss...)

.....

Just read on Boston.com that Panera has bought Boston-based Au Bon Pain. ABP was founded in 1981 (here in Boston, I believe). There seems to be fewer locations than years ago, but enough remain, it seems. If not mistaken, didn't Coolidge Corner have one briefly, just a few storefronts from Coolidge Corner Theater? I can't seem to find one near me in Quincy, Dorchester, South Boston or the Milton areas all these years...just South Shore Plaza in Braintree.

I get somewhat bored by both Panera and ABP now, as I've eaten their offerings too much over the years, but I'm glad both are here in the region and beyond.

The soups are still good at ABP, and I like that if I get a bagel and cream cheese, they spread a chunk of cream cheese on the bagel and kind of mash it into the bagel... so nice after it's been toasted. Can't do that with those small and nasty cream cheese packets and the accompanying plastic knife tossed in at both ABP and Panera. You're on your own, and the cream cheese is hard to spread with that plastic knife, resulting in small cold clumps of cream cheese that don't seem to melt into the bagel!

(First world problems, I know!)

I do appreciate that ABP is 24/7 at Brigham and Women's hospital, for those who aren't aware, and open to staff and visitors.

The story mentioned it is not known if ABP will survive. I hope so, as it's Boston-born and ours, plus it's good to have variety, of course.
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Old 11-09-2017, 04:57 AM
 
Location: Boston, MA
7,854 posts, read 6,808,966 times
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I like Au Bon Pain because their catering is easy and reliable. If something comes up and I need to schedule a breakfast tomorrow morning at my job, I can rely on them. So that's worth something. However, I can't remember the last time I've gone to Au Bon Pain myself on my own time for anything other than coffee, and the only reason I stop by for coffee is typically because I walk right past it. But that was usually the one right smack dab in the middle of Harvard Square. Now that one's gone.
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Old 11-09-2017, 05:02 AM
 
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Haven't been to a ABP for eons. I think maybe the last one I was in is the one at the Plaza?!? I honestly don't remember.

Haven't been to a Panera in awhile either.

My guess is that it'll eventually change into a Panera. That's what usually happens, especially if there are already a small number of places like ABP.
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Old 11-09-2017, 05:41 AM
 
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I have a feeling they will keep both brands as they overlap in many places. Changing them all to Panera would require buying out leases, laying off employees, et al. Further, the corporate overlord of Panera has no issue owning multiple brands that all do the same thing:

Krispy Kreme/Panera/Einstein Bagels
Caribou/Peets/Green Mountain coffee
Keurig/Tassimo.

JAB Holdings also has many cosmetic, home cleaner, and luxury brands.
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Old 11-09-2017, 05:44 AM
 
1,068 posts, read 431,083 times
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I think a combo of people generally eating differently ( assuming healthier) and the mindset of visiting smaller more "artisanal" independent type options are adding to this. Depending on your neighborhood in Boston, there is usually a localish non chain coffee and sandwich shop close by. I think people are trending toward that route.
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Old 11-09-2017, 07:17 AM
 
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I have an ABP very close to where I live and almost never go. The food is unremarkable and the baked goods have been surpassed by other options in the area. I don't really care if it survives. They have dominated Mass Ave in Cambridge for a long time with locations in Central Square, Harvard Square and one smack dab in between. The Harvard Square location was a bit of a landmark and it sounds like they were not going to be reopening after the Harvard renovations even before this sale. It will be interesting to see what happens to the other Cambridge locations. I could see the Central Square location becoming a Panera. There actually was a Panera on the outskirts of Harvard Square that became Tatte last year when that acquisition happened. That location is only 2 blocks from the remaining mid Cambridge ABP, so no telling what will happen to that location.
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Old 11-09-2017, 07:29 AM
 
Location: Boston
7,336 posts, read 15,302,120 times
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Au Bon Pan will probably not change much. Less profitable stores may shut down or be rebranded, but the bought the brand because there's value in it. Especially in the urban/airport stores. It's not the same product as Panera, but it is competition. Now they own the competition.
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Old 11-09-2017, 07:53 AM
 
Location: Boston, MA
7,854 posts, read 6,808,966 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeePee View Post
I think a combo of people generally eating differently ( assuming healthier) and the mindset of visiting smaller more "artisanal" independent type options are adding to this. Depending on your neighborhood in Boston, there is usually a localish non chain coffee and sandwich shop close by. I think people are trending toward that route.
Chains are still alive and well. Cafe Nero, Pavement, Flour (probably a few others I can't think of, of course Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks every .25 miles has been the case for ages) have taken the city by storm. I actually find that Boston has very few independent coffee shops, at least compared to other major cities.
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Old 11-09-2017, 07:55 AM
 
Location: Boston, MA
7,854 posts, read 6,808,966 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by porterhouse View Post
I have an ABP very close to where I live and almost never go. The food is unremarkable and the baked goods have been surpassed by other options in the area. I don't really care if it survives. They have dominated Mass Ave in Cambridge for a long time with locations in Central Square, Harvard Square and one smack dab in between. The Harvard Square location was a bit of a landmark and it sounds like they were not going to be reopening after the Harvard renovations even before this sale. It will be interesting to see what happens to the other Cambridge locations. I could see the Central Square location becoming a Panera. There actually was a Panera on the outskirts of Harvard Square that became Tatte last year when that acquisition happened. That location is only 2 blocks from the remaining mid Cambridge ABP, so no telling what will happen to that location.
Side note but man is Tatte expensive! It's the closest coffee place to my work, but I have a hard time paying over $3 for just plain old black coffee. And their sandwiches are $10 or more too. Yet it's always (unpleasantly) packed with people.
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Old 11-09-2017, 08:24 AM
 
1,390 posts, read 1,955,790 times
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Abp has seemed to switches to a self serve skeleton crew model. I was at the mgh one and it was very different than I remembered. Pretty average place
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