Food-to-go and coffee chain introduces service enabling companies to cater for conference calls and events with remote attendees
A Panera Bread store in Philadelphia, USA | Photo credit: Helen89 via Shutterstock
Panera Bread has launched a catering service in response to increased remote and hybrid working in the US. Panera Connects is available to the chain’s MyPanera loyalty scheme members, which has around 40 million members, and enables companies and institutions to offer catering for virtual meetings with remote attendees.
“When you have certain people coming in on certain days, some people not coming in at all, how do you maintain that culture, collaboration, relationship?” Chris Correnti, Panera Bread Senior Vice President of Off-premise Channels, told US broadcaster CNBC.
Panera is also seeking to fill the gap as many company cafeterias struggle to reopen following the introduction of hybrid working patterns. The company has introduced a service enabling employees to place individual orders for scheduled group food and beverage deliveries at workplaces.
The initiatives are the latest move by Panera Bread to adapt to new consumption patterns in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. In April 2021, the company’s CEO Niren Chaudhary revealed the proportion of customers opting for takeaway or delivery had risen from 40% pre-pandemic to 85% today, with delivery growth at 150%. More than half of the chain’s $2bn sales now come from e-commerce channels, Chaudhary added.
JAB Holdings-controlled Panera Bread was recently reported to have completed an $800m refinancing, a move which could pave the way for the company to go public. Luxembourg-based JAB Holdings took Panera Bread private in 2017 as part of its $7.5bn acquisition of the company.