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It is a marvel to think that a bakery stock can outperform most mutual funds and hedge funds. In 1991, Panera (PNRA), back when it was known as Au Bon Pain, completed an IPO at $9 per share with Morgan Stanley as its underwriter. Since that time the stock at a recent price of $192.02 per share has returned an annualized compounded 14.92% return for 22 straight years. The company now sports a $5.6 billion dollar market capitalization.

The Panera story intrigued us and we began to look for comparables and there were none that were even close. There was however a very poor man's version of Panera in a company called Cosi,...

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