Panera Bread Becomes a Grocery Store of Sorts
Panera Bread restaurant chain, like many others in the world, has been shut down for everything other than takeout or delivery during to the coronavirus pandemic. About half of the company’s business has been lost due to dining rooms shutting down.
Panera has begun a new program to try and get more people to support the company during the pandemic. Some Panera locations are operating as temporary grocery stores.
The new Panera grocery program allows people to purchase various foods that would be used by Panera locations. These include bread products plus milk, yogurt, fresh produce, and cream cheese.
The work comes as the grocery industry has experienced a rise during the pandemic. People are flocking to grocery stores to get foods, especially ones that might cost less than what people would get out of restaurants. Some also prefer groceries to restaurants over how they are cheaper in comparison, especially as many are out of work.
Keeping Stores Open
Panera is pivoting to grocery services to ensure that its locations can stay open. The effort is to help allow the employees to continue to work during this time. The hope is that while Panera will lose money by not operating as a traditional restaurant, it can offset those losses by working as a grocery store of sorts.
There are about two thousand Panera Bread locations throughout the United States and Canada. Details on which Panera locations are participating in the program are unclear. Potential customers are encouraged to contact their local Panera locations to see if they are selling groceries.
How to Order
People who do wish to order groceries from Panera may go to the Panera website, or they can use the Panera app. People can also order through Grubhub.
A customer can pick up one’s order at a Panera location. The order can also be delivered to one’s home. Panera locations working as groceries will not allow people to peruse any aisles or other things similar to what one might find out of a traditional grocery store.
Impacts on the Business
Panera’s move comes as the company has experienced losses due to the pandemic. It is estimated that the company lost about half of its business after its dining rooms closed down.
There are also worries about people not being willing to support restaurants. These fears come from both people not willing to travel or those who might not want to spend money as it becomes tight.
Some support center employees at Panera have been furloughed. They will be brought back as business picks up once again, although the timeframe for when this will happen remains unclear.
Panera is owned by JAB Holding, which is the parent company of Krispy Kreme. The company does not disclose information on its finances. Many of JAB’s various subsidiaries have experienced a drop in sales due to the pandemic. These include not only Panera and Krispy Kreme but also Au Bon Pain, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Bruegger’s Bagels, and Insomnia Cookies.