Who Is Ron Schaich and What Does He know About Parenting?


Who Is Ron Schaich and What Does He Know About Parenting?


James L. Casale, Ph.D.

I never heard of Ron Schaich and I’m betting that you haven’t either. Since I’m a foodie, a self-taught cook, and the author of a family cookbook, a newspaper article about a pioneer in the “fast casual’ world of dining attracted my attention. His extraordinary story as a successful entrepreneur reveals a few notable lessons that can be applied to effective parenting.

What is working and what is not working?

The former CEO of the Panera Bread Company started his food service career by opening a 400 square foot cookie store in Boston in the early 80s. But no one was buying cookies in the morning. He hooked up with a small pastry chain called Au Bon Pain and his business picked up significantly in the AM.

Every parent wants to be successful but not every parent, on a regular basis, assesses their effectiveness. Ron’s company grew exponentially. Your family may grow beyond one child. As parents are you ready and willing to adjust to be more successful? Ron had a business plan. Do you have a family plan? If not, create one before your first child is born.

Why was Ron so successful?

Ron eventually acquired Au Bon Pain, took it public, and bought the St. Louis Bread Company which became Panera Bread. He recently sold Panera Bread for 7.5 billion. He owned 6% of the company and netted about 400 million for himself. But he wasn’t always successful.

Panera was fraught with many problems: long lines, long wait times, and frustrated customers. He left the company for several years but came back to lead the company again with a plan to restructure it with about 100 million investment in technology.

There’s that word plan again. But a plan must be accompanied by strategies. Parents who want to raise life-long learners and good citizens in a family culture that emphasizes education, morals, and virtue must own a set of strategies that work. Parents are not in the food business. They are in the child-rearing business. The strategies they must own and incorporate are not rocket science or brain surgery. No special skills are required. What is required to execute your plan are: accurate information, love, commitment, courage, and stamina.

The information is within easy reach via books and professional advice from those you trust.

Do parents ever take the time to reflect?

Despite his windfall, Ron is still working today. He treasures his time with his wife and two teenage children. At the end of the newspaper article, he laments the death of his parents who were suffering from chronic diseases. He feels strongly that the time to reflect on your life and what you have done or not done …”is not in the ninth inning, on your deathbed. It’s while you are going through life.”

The best and most successful teachers and parents are the ones who always think they could do better. They are always self-assessing and reflecting on what they have done. They will try new things and take risks to perform better. What could possibly be more important than raising your children to be literate and upstanding citizens? Based on your plan and strategies, regularly ask yourself this simple question. How am I doing?

Note: The source for this article written by Alexandra Wolfe appeared in Weekend Confidential of the Wall Street Journal. (7/29-30/17)

Dr. Casale is both a state and national award-winning educator and the author of two parenting books: Wise Up and Be the Solution and Family Pledge His first book was acquired by Skyhorse Publishing and reissued in 2015. His second book, Family Pledge is expected to be available in September.


He is available as a speaker. Contact him at jamescasalephd77@gmail.com. Visit his website, www.jamescasalephd.com and receive a FREE copy of his eBook, Four Basic Back to School Priorities That Have Nothing to Do with Shopping. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.