Blaine Hurst is President and Chief Executive Officer of Panera, LLC. Blaine was named Chief Executive Officer of Panera effective January 1, 2018 after serving as its President since December 2016.
Blaine joined Panera in late 2010 to begin the Panera 2.0 initiative, an enhanced guest experience enabled by technology but rooted in operational integrity. In 2014, he launched Panera’s Delivery initiative. Today, considered by many to be a digital leader, Panera currently processes more than 28% of its orders digitally, with digital sales reaching nearly $1.2B in 2017. The company has more than 29mm members in its loyalty program, representing more than one-half of Panera’s transactions. And its omni-channel approach has led the industry, from industry leading catering sales and sales growth to smaller order delivery available in more than half of Panera restaurants.
Working with Panera’s founder, Blaine has helped Panera transform itself into the leading fast casual restaurant in America. The powerful themes of Panera’s transformation: integrated digital, wellness, loyalty, omni-channel experience, and new restaurant formats adapted to the ways consumers eat today, are reshaping the restaurant industry. Blaine has been named by Fast Casual Magazine as one of their Movers and Shakers for the last 3 years and is the author of four published patents. A frequently requested speaker, Blaine has shared his thoughts on innovation and company and personal transformation with thousands. Fast Company named Panera the No. 1 Most Innovative Company in Food in 2015 and 27th overall as a result of Panera’s 2.0 work. Panera was named as the number one brand of the year by Fast Casual Magazine in 2015, and Panera was named a Marketer of the Year by Ad Age magazine in 2017. Blaine has been driving Panera’s commitment to 100% Clean Food, revamping the menu to deliver “craveable wellness” and redesigning cafes and brand voice to align with Panera’s commitment to Food as it Should Be.
Prior to joining Panera, Hurst was an entrepreneur and consultant, assisting numerous restaurant, retail and distribution companies in their development and growth, including the development of Panera's strategic information systems plan. Hurst previously served as President, Restaurant Technology Solutions, LLC, a division of eMac Digital. Prior to eMac, Hurst was Vice Chairman and President of Papa John's International Inc., after having held the roles Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer and Vice President, Information Services. As the company’s first CIO, he led the development and rollout of the restaurant industry’s first nationwide online ordering system. Earlier in his career, before joining Boston Chicken as its Vice President, Information Services, Hurst was a consulting division Partner with Ernst & Young, founding the firm's Center for Information Technology Planning and Development.
Blaine earned a Bachelor of Arts with High Distinction in Computer Science from Indiana University. He is also a proud Kentucky Colonel.