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Cramer: Lots of bread but where’s the dough?

(Click for video linked to a searchable transcript of this Mad Money segment)

Over the past five years, this company's shares have gained 183%. And although the business still makes delicious baked goods, its stock has gone somewhat stale.

And Jim Cramer wants to know why.

"What the heck is happening with Panera Bread?" he asked. The company operates more than 1,700 cafes that serve not only baked treats but also salads and other healthy foods; you'd think shares would be rallying with investors viewing the stock as a play on better eating.

Jonathansloane | iStock 360 | Getty Images

But that's not the case. "The stock has been slammed," Cramer noted, "especially lately." Over the course of a month shares have declined 10%.

Looking at Panera earnings, a decline seems unwarranted. The headline numbers appear to be impressive.

"Panera reported on Tuesday after the close, and the company delivered a 3-cent earnings beat off of a $1.52 basis with higher than expected revenues," Cramer said.

However, dig down and Cramer says there is some cause for concern.

Panera trimmed its 2014 sales and profit forecasts as management blamed the severe winter weather for preventing customers from visiting its cafes. The company now expects same-restaurant sales to be up between 2 percent and 3.5 percent this year, compared with its earlier forecast of a rise of 2 percent to 4 percent.

Also Cramer said Panera had some issues with higher food costs

Although those metrics are concerning, Cramer thinks there's something else at play.

"I think the stock has gotten slammed lately as part of the meltdown in all things growth," Cramer said. That is, as investors rotated out of growth and into cyclical stocks ahead of an expected global recovery, Panera has come under pressure.

However, when the dust settles, Cramer thinks Panera may well be worth a second look.

"Even though this is not Panera's brightest moment, the company does have a plan to get its mojo back," Cramer explained.

It's called Panera 2.0.

"The idea is to roll out a set of store upgrades that they've already tested in Boston and Charlotte, North Carolina, bringing them to 150 locations this year," Cramer explained. As Cramer so often says, store redesigns often goose sales.

Also, Cramer likes the way Panera has embraced technology.

"Panera plans to roll out online and app-based ordering systemwide over the next several months, which we know has been huge for Starbucks."

In an interview on "Mad Money," Ronald Shaich, the co-founder, chairman and co-CEO of Panera Bread told Cramer, "In the not too distant future, people will be able to place their orders on the Internet. Tell Panera what time they want the food. Come in and get it and bet out the door in under a minute."


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All told, Cramer sees plenty of fundamental catalysts that could drive a rally. But not yet.

Eventually, the market will feel differently about growth and when it does, it could feel very differently about Panera.

Call Cramer: 1-800-743-CNBC

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