While soaring commodity costs are wreaking havoc on many restaurant companies, the hyperinflation of wheat has severely affected the restaurant-level margins—and the parent company’s earnings—at bakery-cafe segment leader Panera Bread Co. Meanwhile, segment rivals like Einstein Noah Restaurant Group Inc. and Così Inc. were able to post improved first-quarter results chiefly on higher sales and their proactive cost controls at the restaurant level.Einstein Noah’s efforts to ...

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