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Here's The New Fast-Casual King

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Here's The New Fast-Casual King

Looks like there's new fast-casual sheriff in town. While Chipotle’s (CMG) stock's dropped more than 20% over the past year, Panera Bread (PNRA) is selling like, well, hot bread, hitting an all-time high last week, with a 30% gain during that same period. Back in November, with Chipotle’s E. coli disaster in full force, analysts said Panera Bread has the most to gain, CNN Money reports.

Here's The New Fast-Casual King

Interestingly, Panera's menu is nothing like Chipotle's. However, Panera is generally viewed as a better place to grab lunch—and an upgrade over fast food.

Panera has another leg up on the burrito joint—it’s open for breakfast, allowing the chain to eat market share from McDonald’s, Burger King and Taco Bell.

And it looks like there's a healthy market appetite in this segment: the company says pre-11am sales have outpaced lunch and dinner sales for the past few quarters. [CNN]