Panera Bread has entered the grocery business — sort of.
The fast-casual chain has grocery “staples” to its list of menu items available for pick-up or delivery as the COVID-19 outbreak continues. The featured products include produce, with tomatoes, avocado and blueberries among the offerings, along with dairy items such as milk, yogurt and cream cheese spreads. Breads and bagels are also in the mix. (Subway and McDonald’s Australia have also added groceries to their offerings.)
"From limited choices on grocery shelves to the growing need to limit the number of trips outside of the home, it is an incredibly stressful time when it comes to putting wholesome food on the table, and we knew Panera could help," said Niren Chaudhary, Panera CEO. "With this new service we can help deliver good food and fresh ingredients from our pantry to yours, helping provide better access to essential items that are increasingly harder to come by."
Panera’s expanded offerings come after the majority of the nation’s restaurants temporarily closed their dining rooms and are relying solely on take-out and delivery. Restaurant transactions fell 42% during the week ended March 29 compared with a year ago, according to the NPD Group. Chaudhary said the chain lost half its business after its dining rooms closed, reported CNBC.
Panera Bread is owned by JAB Holding, which also owns Krispy Kreme, Caribou Coffee, Au Bon Pain, Pret A Manger and more.