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Panera Bread Legal Methods

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Panera Bread Company has an exclusivity clause in their lease agreement with Shrewsbury shopping mall restricting them from leasing to another sandwich shop. Judge: Burrito not a sandwich, Sun Journal (Nov. 11, 2006), http://www.sunjournal.com/story/184707-3/NewEnglandNews/Judge_Burrito_not_a_sandwich. The Pita Pit is seeking to lease restaurant space in the Shrewsbury shopping mall. Id. Panera Bread Company is challenging the shopping center’s potential lease with The Pita Pit, claiming it violates the exclusivity clause in their lease. Id.
In November 2006, Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Locke ruled in a similar case involving the same complainant, Panera Bread Company, in which the exclusivity clause did not specifically describe “a sandwich.” Id. The court held that the Mexican Grill restaurant seeking restaurant space did not violate the exclusivity clause due to the type of the food the Mexican Grill would serve. Id. Judge Locke noted in the Panera Bread Company case, Qdoba Mexican Grill did not violate the exclusivity clause because their food, mainly burritos, tacos, and quesadillas, was not sandwiches, and therefore, not a sandwich shop. Id. Judge Locke turned to the dictionary for a definition of sandwich which read “two thin pieces of bread, usually buttered, with a thin layer (as of meat, cheese, or savory mixture) spread between them.” Bret Thorn, Burrito not a sandwich, judge rules in Panera-vs.-Qdoba tiff, Nation’s Restaurant News (Nov. 13, 2006), http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3190/is_46_40/ai_n1685050.
In the case at bar, The Pita Pit serves a type of food that consists of pita bread, stuffed with various meats and toppings which is consistent with the definition of a sandwich. Unlike the Mexican Grill, which served a variety of food that was not consistent with sandwich toppings, ingredients, and/or choices, the Pita Pit’s...

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