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Panera Bread announced on Thursday it now is offering a new subscription program that will cost $8.99 per month and include unlimited coffee, iced coffee and tea drinks. Panera says it is the first national restaurant company to offer such a service.
The program, MyPanera+ Coffee, is available to members of Panera’s loyalty program, MyPanera. Members can register for the subscription through the Panera website or mobile app. Panera advises that signing up via QR code is available in stores across the country starting today.
“Coffee is an important daily ritual for so many – it can give you a dose of optimism – it lifts you up. We kept asking ourselves, why can’t it be more accessible, more affordable? Moreover, could unlimited coffee translate to unlimited optimism?” Niren Chaudhary, Panera CEO, said in a company release. “Today, we’re changing the game for coffee drinkers across the country with our no compromises, unlimited subscription service – great coffee at an amazing value. We are eliminating the price barrier and the false choices between convenience and quality – between good coffee and craveable food. At Panera, there’s no more compromise—and your cup is always full.”
Panera indicates the subscription “includes one cup of drip hot coffee, hot tea, or iced coffee every two hours during regular bakery-cafe hours, including free refills of the same beverage at participating U.S. Panera Bread bakery-cafes.”
Panera has revamped and expanded its drip and iced coffee offerings in the last year, including light roast and dark roast blends. The brand says those blends, plus decaffeinated and hazelnut, are part of the new program. The subscription coffee service is part of Panera’s ongoing efforts to acquire more of the competitive breakfast business. Breakfast wraps, egg sandwiches, and fresh bakery items also are included in the brand’s morning offerings.
Panera, which has more than 2,100 locations in 48 states and Ontario, Canada, has focused on providing the best experience possible for customers, offering mobile ordering and Rapid PickUp for to-go orders and delivery. In August 2019, Panera announced the availability of its national delivery service through DoorDash, Grubhub, and Uber Eats. In addition to being able to order from Panera’s app and website, customers can use all three apps to order Panera. Whether ordering via Panera or through one of its partners, orders are delivered by Panera’s own delivery drivers in most markets.
“From helping create the fast-casual category, to technology breakthroughs with Panera 2.0, to clean food—Panera has a history of industry-leading innovation that creates value for and adds to the guest experience,” Chaudhary added. “Panera is a challenger brand and with unlimited coffee we are disrupting the coffee business. We are challenging the status quo because we believe everyone deserves a full cup, literally and figuratively.”
A traditional, transaction-based loyalty program – once the be-all, end-all of the industry – in recent years has become only one of many viable approaches to driving customer retention. Membership-based loyalty, which Panera is offering with its coffee subscription program, has proven to be another successful method. We at Loyalty360 will be watching to see if this helps drive Panera’s share of the breakfast market and the brand’s overall business.
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