Au Bon Pain

The Situation

Au Bon Pain developed two new prototype restaurants targeted toward the suburban market. These new prototypes offered the same service model as a traditional urban Au Bon Pain, but in cool and modern environment with a waterfall, plastic chairs and plastic-vinyl floors.

These new suburban cafes were under-performing relative to their business model and King·Casey was brought in to help diagnose the problem and develop recommended solutions.

The Solution

Extensive research among Au Bon Pain’s customers and its key competitors customers revealed confusion and difficulty surrounding the order process and related merchandising and communications. It was also determined that customers viewed the environment as being “cold” and uncomfortable.

Based on this, King·Casey recommended a new order process, an integrated zone merchandising strategy and a new strategic direction and look for the interior environment.

The Results

The result of King·Casey’s strategy can be seen in a new restaurant concept called the Bistro, which opened in August, 2006 in the same location where one of Au Bon Pain’s original suburban prototypes was located. Significant changes in the Bistro concept include an expanded menu, table service and a new environment that is warm, cozy and evokes comfort.

Au Bon Pain plans to build approximately 20 of the new Bistro suburban prototypes over the next three years.


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