NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Panera Bread (PNRA) are higher by 4.05% to $216.02 in mid-morning trading on Wednesday, after the fast casual dining company posted better than expected 2016 second quarter earnings after the close on Tuesday.

The company posted non-GAAP earnings of $1.78 per diluted share on revenue of $698 million for the most recent quarter. Analysts were expecting earnings of $1.74 per share on revenue of $696.2 million for the period.

Panera founder and CEO Ron Shaich appeared on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" this morning to discuss the company's strong performance. Others in the restaurant sector, such as McDonald's (MCD) and Starbucks (SBUX), didn't do as well in the second quarter.

"Well, we've had this strategic plan that we've been working on for three to four years. The reality is the vision that underlies that has been right," Shaich said. The CEO credited the company's commitment to initiatives such as clean food, delivery and technology.

"More importantly I think people are talking about the consumer slowdown. We, historically over the 25 years I've been involved with the company, have not correlated with the consumer environment," Shaich continued.

The CEO mentioned that when the recession hit the company's comps were stable throughout. The decline in gas prices was beneficial to fast food, but Panera struggled during that time.

"The reality is we have a better customer, a more affluent customer. For them a slowdown doesn't mean they brown bag it," Shaich said.

(Panera Bread is held in Jim Cramer's charitable trust portfolio Action Alerts PLUS. See all of Cramer's holdings with free trial.)

Separately, TheStreet Ratings has set a "buy" rating and a score of B on Panera Bread stock. This is driven by multiple strengths, which TheStreet Ratings believes should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks it covers.

The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity and solid stock price performance. TheStreet Ratings feels its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: PNRA

Image placeholder title