The firm also raised its price target for the bakery cafe to $215 from $185.
Wedbush listed national marketing and strong same store sales (SSS) index growth as reasons for the upgrade.
"We are upgrading Panera Bread to OUTPERFORM from NEUTRAL given our expectation for upside to modest 2014 consensus estimates, despite meaningful investments ahead based on checks indicating strong Q1 SSS growth; our belief that national marketing, Panera 2.0 and catering initiatives are poised to sustain sales lifts ahead of expectations; and share repurchases ahead of expectations," said Wedbush.
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Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates PANERA BREAD CO as a Buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate PANERA BREAD CO (PNRA) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, notable return on equity, reasonable valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins."
Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: