Franchise group to develop 12 Panera bakery-cafes

by Eric Schroeder
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RICHMOND HEIGHTS, MO. — Panera Bread reached agreement with a new franchise group to develop 12 bakery-cafes in the North Orange County territory in California. In addition, the group has acquired the Panera bakery-cafe located in Fullerton, Calif.

The franchise group — Dennis and Shane Hitzeman, Tom McDonald and David Babbush — has considerable experience in the restaurant industry.

Dennis Hitzeman and Mr. McDonald are partners in a group that owns and operates more than 50 Burger King locations in the Atlanta, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Dallas markets. Shane Hitzeman, an 8-year veteran of franchise operations, will be the group’s co-owner and managing partner. Mr. Babbush will be the group’s operating partner.

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