After gathering up a series of coffee shop brands, JAB Holdings has bagged Pret a Manger. Despite the acquisition spree, the enterprise has yet to see much success with the brands it has collected. The one exception is Panera Bread, which earned a spot in the Genius category of Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Restaurants. Pret might be the pick up JAB’s been needing, but will JAB be a good thing for the sandwich shop?
Currently, JAB leads the other private equity firms investing in restaurants, according to L2’s study. However, the company loses out overall because it has yet to develop integrated loyalty and communications features to span its string of recently-acquired small coffee chains. In particular, Caribou Coffee, Intelligentsia Coffee, Peet’s Coffee, and Stumptown Coffee Roasters all record Average or worse performances.
The four restaurant conglomerates in Gartner L2’s study, on the other hand, have no Feeble brands and much tighter Digital IQ distributions than the five private equity groups, indicating that conglomerates do a better job of holding up their weakest brands through shared digital infrastructure. In particular, conglomerates YUM! Brands and Darden Restaurants rank in the Gifted class, supporting their brands with shared resources and industry expertise that private equity and holding companies lack. For example, within Darden Restaurants, customers on Longhorn Steakhouse’s site are encouraged to sign up for emails from Darden sister brands Olive Garden and Yard House simultaneously. Similarly, Bloomin’ Brands offers Dine Rewards, a loyalty program spanning its brand portfolio.
Given JAB’s track record with acquisitions, it would be prudent of the enterprise to pay closer attention to consistency across brands. If JAB continues to depend on one brand, Pret’s success will remain scattered and possibly not guaranteed.