Panera Bread Thursday is launching an $8.99 per 30 days unlimited coffee subscription as it intends to grow its breakfast traffic and loyal customer base.
The subscription, believed to be a first among the national restaurant community, could position Panera competitively as a trade war to win over breakfast customers climbs this year.
The Wendy’s is about to launch into breakfast on March 2, prompting competitors, including McDonald’s, Starbucks and Dunkin’ Brands Group, to defend their turf with new products and offers.
Over at least the last year, privately held Panera, located outside of St. Louis, has revamped breakfast, adding wraps and souffles and has boosted coffee quality.
However, it’s still recognized more for soups, salads, and sandwiches. It has not previously done as much as different networks to cater to the breakfast segment or market its coffee products.
Panera CEO Niren Chaudhary believes the rewards program – which presently has 38 million members – will gain another “few million” members this year as customers should first join MyPanera so as to enroll in the coffee subscription.
There are practically 2,200 cafes in the U.S. and Ontario, Canada operating as the Panera Bread or Saint Louis Bread Co brands.
Panera has been checking the coffee subscription for more than three months at 150 cafes across the cities of Cleveland, Columbus, Raleigh, and Nashville.
In tests, the frequency of visits grew by over 200%. Also, almost 70% of orders included food items, and the subscription renewal rate was 90% to 95%, Chaudhary stated.
The group believes the nationwide launch will become profitable within the first month, though Chaudhary wouldn’t share financial figures.