About Us Sam Covelli

Would you like to know more about us and how we got started? These pages offer information on the Covelli Family franchise, an overview of the career opportunities we have available, and details for sending us your questions and comments.


About the Franchisee

Entrepreneur Sam Covelli, is the owner/operator of Covelli Enterprises. The company is headquartered in Covelli’s hometown of Warren, OH and currently employs over 25,000 people. The company is the single largest franchisee of Panera Bread and O’Charley’s Restaurants and was recently named the 4th largest restaurant franchisee in the nation. In May 2012, the Covelli was the first Panera Bread franchisee to take the concept internationally with a record-breaking opening in Toronto, Canada. By the end of 2012, Covelli Enterprises had over 220 Panera Bread locations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Florida and Toronto, Canada. By the end of 2013, Covelli Enterprises will own and operate more than 250 Panera Bread locations.

Covelli opened his first O’Charley’s Restaurant in Niles in 2006 and his second in Erie, Pennsylvania in 2007. Since then he has opened three additional sites in Boardman, Cuyahoga Falls and Orlando, Florida. Covelli plans to open another O’Charley’s location in Northeast Ohio in 2013.

In 2012, Covelli Enterprises took on a third restaurant concept and began developing Dairy Queen locations. The company currently owns 9 Dairy Queen stores in the Northeast Ohio region with plans for more growth this year.

Covelli Enterprises has a long-standing history giving back to the community. Throughout its existence, the company has donated millions of dollars to local charitable organizations. In 2012, Covelli Enterprises donated over $17 million in unsold bread product to local food banks and hunger relief agencies and made monetary contributions to support many other local charitable organizations.

Covelli is also host to several large-scale community fundraising events. The Panerathon, a 10K/2 Mile walk/run held annually at the Covelli Centre, is the largest fundraising event in Youngstown, OH and has raised over $500,000 for the Joanie Abdu Breast Comprehensive Breast Care Center at St. Elizabeth Health Center over the past three years. Covelli also hosts an annual 5K/2 Mile walk/run event called Step Up for Stefanie in Columbus to benefit the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Cancer Research at The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute. Collectively the Panerathon and Step Up have raised over $1 million for breast cancer research, awareness and treatment.

Covelli Enterprises supports many other charities in each of the markets in which their restaurants are located. See our partners page for a list of local partners in each area.

In 2009, Covelli Enterprises took over the naming rights of the now named Covelli Centre located in downtown Youngstown. The $42 million arena hosts concerts, hockey games and special events with its large seating capacity of 7,000.

In 2012, Covelli made the largest donation in history to the Ohio State Athletics Department to assist in funding the construction of a multi-sport arena. The $10 million gift will provide critical amenities for student-athletes in men’s and women’s volleyball, gymnastics, fencing and wrestling, including new locker rooms, offices, training and treatment rooms.

Covelli Enterprises continually wins the most awards for exceptional service, cleanliness, customer service and expansive growth of its locations. For all his achievements, Covelli has earned numerous awards including: 2005 Entrepreneur of the Year for Northeast Ohio by Ernst & Young, YSU Alumni Association Distinguished Citizen of the Year, Youngstown Area Restaurateur of the Year, and 2009 Ohio Entrepreneur of the Year. Covelli attributes his success to the hiring of dedicated and passionate employees who deliver superior customer service in clean and friendly environments.

Covelli has received proclamations from U.S. Senators John Glenn and Mike DeWine, Congressman Steve LaTourette, Ohio Senator Harry Meshel, and the Mayors of Warren, Niles, Youngstown and Sharon, PA. He has also been recognized by Covelli has served on the Boards of multiple organizations, was the founder of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Mahoning Valley and Western Pennsylvania, and was a founding sponsor of the Giant Eagle LPGA Tournament Classic. Sam and his wife, Caryn proudly live in Warren, OH and have three children: Candace, Albert and Danielle.

About Panera Bread

With the single goal of making great bread broadly available to consumers across America, Panera Bread freshly bakes more bread each day than any bakery-cafe concept in the country. Every day, at every location, trained bakers handcraft and bake each loaf from scratch, using all-natural ingredients to ensure the highest quality breads.

Panera Bread understands that great, freshly baked bread makes great meals - including made-to-order sandwiches, tossed-to-order salads and soup served in bread bowls. Our menu items, which start with our all natural, preservative-free breads, feature only the freshest, highest quality ingredients.

Visit icon Panerabread.com for more information.