Best Example of Chain Placement Redundancy
Panera Bread at Dupont Circle
1350 Connecticut Ave. NW, (202) 862-8536
The gradual chainification of major cities—D.C. included—has primed us for low expectations when it comes to new retail space opening downtown. For all of the unnecessary CVS locations that dominate our urban landscape, nothing better exemplifies the soul-crushing redundancy of franchising than the opening of Panera Bread at Dupont Circle, situated directly next to a Cosi, which is next to a CVS located 60 seconds from another CVS. Perhaps foodies with finer palates than mine can tell the difference between Panera and Cosi (Cosi’s bread is baked in a wood-fired oven!), but could the demand for bread, soup, and sandwiches be overwhelming enough to necessitate them both? Unlike the bygone days of the fast-food wars, where punny slogans and snarky commercials helped distinguish between nearly identical entities, it’s hard to foresee a colorful rivalry developing over whose balsamic vinaigrette has less trans fat. Prove me wrong, Panera Bread...prove me wrong.