ATLANTA-Hooked on Dough, a firm formed by Wendy’s franchisees Howard Nelson and Don and Scott Harris, will be in the dough shortly. The trio won statewide franchise rights from St. Louis-based Panera Bread Co. and plan to open at least 25 eateries in the metro area and throughout Georgia. There are currently eight local company-owned stores.

The first non-company owned store opened this month in north Fulton County, 25 miles north of Downtown. The bakery-cafes specialize in baked goods, especially breads and bagels, soups, salads and sandwiches. Stores are both free-standing and within malls and range in size from 3,000 sf to more than 5,000 sf. Average unit sales are $1.5 million per year.

Panera Bread Co., formerly Au Bon Pain Co., currently has more than 230 bakery-cafes in 27 states. Through franchising and company-owned sites, the company expects to open another 500 stores over the next six years.

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