Crew sign Panera Bread partnership

The Columbus Crew announced today that it has signed a new corporate partnership with Panera Bread, via franchisee Covelli Enterprises LLC. With nearly 200 bakery-cafes, Covelli Enterprises is the single-largest franchisee of Panera Bread and the fourth largest restaurant franchisee in the nation.

As an Official Team Partner, Panera Bread will be the presenting sponsor of the 2011 Crew team poster giveaway, which is scheduled for July 16, and conduct a retail promotion called “Family Night with the Crew at Panera,” while also advertising on the club’s English radio broadcasts and within its regional mobile marketing program. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Panera aboard,” said Crew President & General Manager Mark McCullers. “It is a tremendously strong brand that aligns extremely well with ours, and we appreciate the partnership and support of Covelli Enterprises.”

Panera Bread bakery-cafes showcase the art and craft of bread making, helping customers truly appreciate and enjoy a great loaf of bread by studying its crust, crumb and craft. Panera Bread understands that great bread makes great meals, from made-to-order sandwiches to tossed-to-order salads and soup served in bread bowls.

Panera Bread is widely recognized for driving the nationwide trend for specialty breads. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, Panera Bread scored the highest level of customer loyalty among quick-casual restaurants, according to research conducted by TNS Intersearch. Additionally, Panera Bread was named Most Popular (for chain restaurants with less than 5,000 outlets) by Zagat, the trusted restaurant review service, in its annual consumer-generated 2010 Fast-Food Survey.

“We are thrilled about our new partnership with the Columbus Crew,” said Covelli Enterprises President and CEO Sam Covelli. “We'll do whatever it takes to promote the Crew and give back to the city of Columbus. We believe in it."

The Crew also announced the renewal of partnerships with Pepsi, Anheuser-Busch, Ohio Department of Safety, Ohio Lottery, Subway, Sugardale and Value City Furniture.

About Panera Bread
With the single goal of making great bread broadly available to consumers across America, Panera Bread freshly bakes more bread each day than any bakery-cafe concept in the country. It is expanding quickly across North America, operating 1,453 company-owned and franchise-operated bakery-cafes in 40 states and in Ontario, Canada, as of December 28, 2010, under the Panera Bread®, Saint Louis Bread Co.® and Paradise Bakery & Café® names.

About the Crew
Founded by American sports pioneer Lamar Hunt, the Columbus Crew is Ohio's Major League Soccer club, anchoring a diverse sports and entertainment enterprise. One of the league's Charter Members, it won its first MLS Cup championship in 2008 and has also won the 2002 U.S. Open Cup and MLS Supporters’ Shield titles in 2004, 2008 and 2009. It recently opened its 16th season overall and 13th at historic, first-of-its-kind Crew Stadium.

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