Panera Bread Wants to Be Everywhere. Panera’s move into dinner could attract new clients. In recent months, Panera Bread has announced several new initiatives geared towards expanding its reach-efforts which will continue to unfold as Panera works to gain access to more locations and serve more customers at more occasions.
“This brand has an incredibly high emotional relationship with our target customers,” says Dan Wegiel, the company’s EVP and chief growth and strategy officer. “That’s something which is a massive asset for all of us and we wish to have them.”
With a wide appeal among consumers and deep relevance among loyal fans, Panera executives see a lot of runway for future expansion and a good amount of chances to further ingrain the manufacturer into customers’ lives.
A lot of the brand’s recent evolution has occurred since JAB Holding Company acquired Panera in 2017 for $7.5 billion. Ever since then, rapid-casual giant has made big news: In April, it presented a whole new slate of breakfast menu items targeted at winning share from competitors who frequently offer frozen, microwaved food items throughout the breakfast daypart. That effort included a revamped coffee program that mirrors the quality and technology available at big coffee houses. In June, the company launched an evaluation of a dinner menu that includes artisan flatbreads, bowls and hearty side things like sweet potato mash. And just in late August, https://locationsnearmenow.net/panera-bread-near-me/ turned more heads as it finally embraced third-party delivery partners after many years of staying with its in-house delivery program.
So, what exactly do the collective moves inform us about where Panera goes?
“The strategic thread that holds all of the things together is that this: this brand has a very unique opportunity within our minds inside the food and restaurant space to get broad relevance to some fairly broad group of target customers,” Wegiel says. “It’s one of many few brands that operates across all dayparts, all week parts and multiple channels of access.”
While those changes came after JAB’s acquisition, he says, the European conglomerate empowered those efforts, not mandated them.
“JAB has a very explicit and clear philosophy they believe individual companies and brands should certainly shape their destiny and destination,” he says. “Unlike some other investment firms they don’t come in having a playbook and say here’s the best way to create value or say here’s the portfolio and here’s where we can create synergies …That’s significantly the antithesis of how they operate.”
Panera and third-party delivery? It fits the fast casual’s goal to fulfill customers everywhere.
Still, Panera has had had the opportunity to lean on the expertise of sister brands under the JAB umbrella-and vice versa. The business owns several coffee concepts, including Peet’s Coffee and Caribou Coffee. Which had been useful when researching methods to revamps Panera’s coffee offerings, Wegiel says. However, JAB urged Panera to strengthen its self-branded coffees, not adopt the banner of another JAB brand.
Moving forward, Panera wants to create more access points in to the brand. For that end, the company will expand traditional and nontraditional stores. Wegiel wouldn’t share specific store growth projections but says there is certainly “ample room” to incorporate both international and domestic units. Likewise, Panera should go deeper on its lines of consumer packaged goods. Customers can currently find salad dressings, soups, breads, and coffee in supermarket aisles. However the brand thinks it could expand both the amount of products and the amount of distribution points.
“CPG in our minds can be a significant lever of new growth,” he says. “I think we’re just scratching the top.”
Panera is definitely a holdout when it comes to the 3rd-party delivery services who have transformed a lot of the restaurant space. The company has offered in-house delivery for many years. Nevertheless in late August, the chain announced new partnerships with DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats that expanded delivery choices across 1,600 of the 2,300 approximately stores. The brand believes adopting those services will help recruit new business.
“We’ve experienced delivery for your better element of five years,” Weigel says. “We realized and heard from the aggregators that there was a complete segment of consumers that wanted Panera, however their primary source or delivery was the aggregators and we weren’t there.”
Whether in delivery, a reimagined breakfast menu or CPG options, Panera is working to reach customers across multiple dayparts and occasions.
“We know there’s tremendous need for the company, a few of which is quite pent up,” Weigel says. “There are areas consumers want us where we’re not.”
“While they could possibly have some incremental business at dinner time, it’s never going to be overpowering. Once these brand identities are established and known, it simply takes forever to move the needle.” – John Gordon, principal and founding father of Pacific Management Consulting Group.
While Panera accelerates change, don’t expect any wholesale transformation. The company wants to stick to its core brand identity that targets clean ingredients and wellness, while keeping its more indulgent bakery and menu items.
“Wellness is not just about maintaining a healthy diet. It plays a part … Somebody that is attempting to eat well is normally attempting to balance things,” Wegiel says. “We offer optionality because wellness is all about completeness inside the balance of fulfillment.”
Some of Panera’s moves-like the reimagined breakfast and coffee program-look more routine than transformational to John Gordon, principal and founding father of Pacific Management Consulting Group.
“Every good operator ought to be doing that,” he says.
He views Panera’s flirtation with dinner, though, as a bolder move. He recalled the brand’s 2006 introduction of the Crispani, a handmade pizza product available only inside the evenings. That offering was meant to push the brand further in to the dinner daypart but low sales caused Panera to pull the pizzas in 2008.
“It’s just tough because Panera was known yet still is known as a soup, salad, sandwich and breakfast place,” Gordon says. “Dinner is really a substantial daypart for them, but not the top of mind daypart.”
To ramp up evening sales, he believes Panera must launch a flagship dinner product. But he thinks the brand’s bakery-cafe identity will remain intact.
“While they might be able to possess some incremental business at dinner time, it’s not going to be overpowering,” he says. “Once these brand identities are established and known, it simply takes forever to move the needle.”
Like several privately held concepts, Panera’s financial performance is tough to find out since its purchase by JAB. But Gordon says the brand still looks strong. It’s a successful operator using a widespread appeal. And Panera enjoys white ypbonx to cultivate its footprint domestically and internationally.
“They have solidified their position in the usa in the last ten years certainly,” he says. “I have lots of respect for Panera being an operator. In various restaurant brand surveys, Panera appears extremely high and features a really strong company operation and franchisee operation.”