2 March 2020 | US

Panera Bread launches $8.99 in-store coffee subscription

JAB Holdings-controlled coffee and food-to-go chain launches monthly coffee subscription service in a bid to boost US breakfast sales

Game changer? Panera Bread says it is the first national restaurant company in the US to introduce a coffee subscription service | Photo: Miosotis Jade 



US coffee and food-to-go chain Panera Bread has rolled out a coffee subscription service across its 2,100+ US store portfolio. The $8.99 offer entitles customers to 'unlimited' hot coffee, iced coffee or hot tea across each month and is available via the MyPanera loyalty programme. Cold brew, espresso drinks, iced tea and other beverages are not included in the subscription and customers are limited to ordering one beverage once every two hours during normal store opening hours. 

In a press statement Panera said it was the ‘first national restaurant company’ to offer an unlimited in-store coffee subscription programme. Commenting on a trial across 150 US stores, Panera CEO Niren Chaudhary told reporters visit frequency had increased over 200%. Almost 70% of orders included food items while around over 90% of subscriptions were subsequently renewed, he said. 

Panera Bread, which was acquired by German conglomerate JAB Holdings for $7.5bn in 2017, faces stiff competition from both fast-food and coffee chains vying for breakfast trade in the US. While fast-food brands such McDonald’s and Burger King have revamped their coffee offers in recent years, major branded coffee chains, such as market leaders Starbucks and Dunkin', have also strengthened their breakfast ranges.

Panera’s value-focused coffee offer could prove attractive in the US. Over one fifth of US consumers surveyed by World Coffee Portal in 2019 drink at least one cup of coffee per day in coffee shops, with expense the second most cited visitation deterrent, behind poor tasting coffee.

In-store coffee subscription services are not without precedent in the US. In March 2019 Burger King trialled a $5 monthly coffee subscription service, which was subsequently discontinued.  
 

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