ST. LOUIS—Panera Bread’s coffee subscription program, which launched shortly before the pandemic, has been a big win for the chain, and it now boasts almost half a million paid subscribers, reports RestaurantBusinessOnline.com.
Panera launched the $8.99-per-month unlimited coffee/tea program in late February, initially signing up about 800,000 customers with an attractive offer that included many free introductory trials. The monthly subscription provides subscribers with any size and flavor of hot coffee, hot tea or iced coffee once every two hours. Beverages can be ordered inside Panera’s restaurants or via the chain’s website or app. About 95% of Panera’s dining rooms are currently open.
Currently, the program boasts nearly 500,000 paying subscribers, according to Niren Chaudhary, CEO, Panera, and so far, it’s generating some solid metrics:
- 90% incrementality
- 35% of subscribers are new customers
- 35% of coffee orders include food
“The coffee program has been very successful at a very difficult time during a pandemic,” Chaudhary said. “The program has resonated extremely well with where customers are at … Even when the program was being offered for free a couple of months ago, it was still profit accretive for us. It’s a program that works for us.”
The coffee subscription has been particularly successful at Panera, he said, because coffee has historically been a “high-quality, under-leveled asset.”
The chain is committed to the program and will continue to offer customers a variety of choices, Chaudhary said. “Right now, we have a full range of hot and cold beverages. We have non-dairy milk options. We’ll be bringing in exciting innovation[s] on beverages in 2021,” he added.
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