Ron Shaich: Panera Bread Founder Forming Political Third Party, No Labels


  • Ron Shaich
Ron Shaich founded St. Louis Bread Company, a.k.a. Panera Bread back in 1981. Since then, the company has gone on to open hundreds of restaurants across the nation. Panera is so successful that, this year, it began letting customers at some of its restaurants pay whatever they want for meals.

But will Shaich's foray into politics be as triumphant? Probably not, given the success of third-party politics in the United States. Still, Shaich dares to dream and counts himself among the founders of No Labels, an independent party attempting to bridge the gap between partisan politics on the left and right.

As the Wall Street Journal recently reported, Shaich is one of several business leaders who's contributed to the party that could endorse New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg as a possible candidate for the 2012 presidential election.

Per the WSJ:
The group has raised more than $1 million to seed its effort against what it calls "hyper-partisanship." Backers include co-chairman of Loews Corp. Andrew Tisch, Panera Bread founder Ron Shaich and ex-Facebook executive Dave Morin. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, as well as U.S. senators Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut and Michigan's Debbie Stabenow, will attend the New York launch.

The group's goal is to start a centrist equivalent to the tea-party movement on the right and MoveOn on the left. It sees an opportunity based on the defeat of liberal Republicans in recent years and the heavy losses taken by conservative Democrats in 2010.

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