Franchisee of the Year

covelli-top-awardI am humbled and deeply honored by the top award we just received from Panera Bread 

As a person who grew up in the food service industry, I know – first-hand – what it takes to create a quality experience for customers. It involves everything from ensuring you are serving great food to hiring quality people. Are your floors clean? Are your counters sparkling? Is your staff smiling? Are your customers satisfied and coming back? Are your windows clean? Is your marketing working? Do you have responsible food suppliers? Are you seizing opportunities for growth and expansion?

I could keep going, but I think you understand that it takes a lot.

Most of all, it takes a staff that is dedicated to excellence.

I am so proud to tell you that we have that kind of staff – people who care about what we do.

And I am not the only one who thinks this way.

Panera Bread, LLC, has awarded us franchisee of the year, the top award that a franchisee owner can receive from the Panera corporation.

We were presented the award in March 2017 at a ceremony in Nashville, Tenn. at Panera Bread’s “Family Reunion,” a gathering of Panera franchisees that is held once every five years.

I accepted the award on behalf of our Covelli Enterprises/Panera Bread family in front of thousands of general managers, district managers, and support staff on both the company and franchisee side. I still feel the excitement of that moment!

To say that I was proud to accept this award would be a dramatic understatement.

I couldn’t stop smiling because I know how significant this award is. It is given to Panera franchisees who achieve operational excellence, market/real estate growth, café openings, market acquisitions and financial metrics.

I am humbled and honored, but if I can be completely candid, I am not surprised.  We have a team that is second-to-none and customers who are an absolute joy to serve.

7 replies
  1. Doug Bardwell
    Doug Bardwell says:

    Congratulations on such a grand achievement. From the customer side, I can say it certainly went to a deserving franchisee. Too often, great service goes unnoticed. Glad you got the recognition you deserve.

    • Sam Covelli
      Sam Covelli says:

      Thank you, Doug, for your congratulations message! We appreciate hearing that our guests notice the emphasis we put on customer service. It truly is what drives us!

  2. Tracy Smith
    Tracy Smith says:

    Congratulations on a job well done over and over again and on the award that you were given. I have been to a number of your Panera locations in Ohio, Georgia, and North and South Carolina and want to commend you on the atmosphere at each one, relaxing and pleasant. I currently work in Maple Heights and have noticed, much to my chagrin, that this city does not currently have a Panera and since it is experiencing a rebirth I was interested in reaching out to you to discuss the feasibility of opening one of your Panera stores in Maple Heights?

    • Sam Covelli
      Sam Covelli says:


      Thank you for reaching out! I’m so glad to hear of your pleasant experiences at our cafés. Please feel free to submit the information you would like to share about Maple Heights through our “Contact Us” page on our website if you have suggestions for a new location. We are always looking for ways to expand and grow in the areas we serve, especially in Northeast Ohio where we are headquartered.

  3. Jane Hackathorn
    Jane Hackathorn says:

    The Boardman location is a pleasant surprise. I duck in for some solitary time to read and enjoy a good coffee from time to time. The various pockets of comfortable seating within the interior design allow for a peaceful space and several private corners for my alone time. You’d never know that the hustle bustle of Market Street is a hundred or so feet away. Overall: Lovely experience for a chain setting.

  4. Susan Eynon
    Susan Eynon says:

    Highest regards and congratulations ! We lived in Canfield for almost 50 years and were so thrilled to have a Panera in our town ! It was our ” morning destination ! ” We moved to North Carolina 6 months ago and now reside in Mebane. We visit your Panera in Burlington, and feel right at home again. However, we sure would love to have a Panera in Mebane! Best wishes for your continued success!
    Bill and Sue Eynon

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