The new power trio: Caribou Coffee and Einstein Bros. Bagels will merge under a new name, Panera Brands.

Your future visits to a Panera Bread store might be a little different. The company has announced it will be merging with Einstein Bros. Bagels and Caribou Coffee to create a new company called Panera Brands. There are no details yet of exactly how much the brands will combine if at all.

Caribou Coffee is a standalone coffee shop that operates primarily in the northern midwest and Einstein’s is a nationwide bagel shop that also operates the brands Bruegger's Bagels, Noah's New York Bagels, and Manhattan Bagel. Like many fast-casual restaurants, Panera stepped up its online ordering capabilities and is designing new stores with curbside pickup and drive-thru lanes.

In February of 2020, Panera began offering unlimited coffee subscriptions for $8.99 a month. Customers can get all-you-can-drink hot tea, coffee, or iced coffee for the duration of their subscription. For customers who buy coffee every day, it saves them a substantial amount of money. Unfortunately, the house brand doesn’t have the same popularity as coffee blends sold at top-tier coffee spots.

Hopefully, the addition of Caribou Coffee will draw customers just looking for that cup of coffee in the morning.

Panera Bread also has a great reputation as a place to get bagels. With more than 2,000 stores in the U.S., Panera is a convenient place to pick up a package of bagels on the way to a meeting. Einstein Bros. Bagels has 1,000 stores and takes the bagel experience a little further by offering sandwich combinations that turn bagels into lunch as well as breakfast. Einstein’s has increased its online ordering through customers who use the app free coffee with every order. Select locations also give out Amazon gift cards with catering orders.

The new Panera Brands will be led by Panera CEO, Niren Chaudhary. The CEO of Einstein Bros. Bagels José Alberto Dueñas and Caribou Coffee CEO John Butcher will remain heads of their respective companies.

Are you pleased with this merger? What other mergers do you think would work? Share in the comments.