Panera Bread Adds Choice-Based Rewards to Loyalty Program

The fast-casual chain is kicking off the new benefits with “MyPanera Week” prior to the October 6 launch.

September 21, 2022

ST. LOUIS—Panera Bread has updated its loyalty program to include choice-based rewards launching October 6 and is holding its first-ever MyPanera Week.

Panera’s loyalty program, MyPanera, will allow members to select their reward from multiple options based on their personal preferences, instead of a single, pre-selected reward. The company says the new benefit is rooted in MyPanera's relationship-based loyalty program, where rather than a transactional points system, members are rewarded based on frequency of visits, spend and their individual purchases and preferences.

"We view our MyPanera loyalty program as an extension of the warmth we show to our guests in our bakery-cafes—for us it's about creating meaningful relationships and delivering personalized value," said Eduardo Luz, chief brand and concept officer at Panera Bread. "We create loyalty by deeply knowing our MyPanera members. We strive to understand and deliver exactly what delights them."

MyPanera began in 2010 and has nearly 48 million members. Panera said its program is “rooted in the belief that the job of a loyalty program is to deepen the guest relationship by meeting both a guest's rational and emotional needs.”

During the company’s fiscal first quarter, more than half of all Panera transactions were from MyPanera members, who typically visit Panera more frequently and spend more in each visit than non-MyPanera members.

The MyPanera loyalty program incorporates “surprise and delight elements,” according to the company, and the upgrades to the program provide its members with different and personalized experiences that increase in value based on multiple variables such as visit frequency.

Prior to the October 6 launch, Panera Bread will hold MyPanera Week September 29 through October 5, handing out exclusive perks to celebrate its loyalty program members. One of the perks includes two months free membership for new Unlimited Sip Club Subscribers, which is a subscription program allowing access to an unlimited amount of any self-serve beverage on the menu for $10.99 a month. Other perks are $0 delivery fees, 20% Off Panera Bread gift cards and a special gift from a Panera partner (to be announced), among other promotions.

Panera’s more personalized approach is the latest attempt to grab customers amid rising prices and to differentiate among other competitors. Fast-food is turning to personalization and rethinking value strategies. McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski said on a recent earnings call that value is no longer a one-size-fits-all equation because of the opportunity digital provides in learning more about how customers access the brand.

A recent Harvard Business Review study on loyalty programs found three takeaways for loyalty programs. NACS Magazine dove into loyalty programs and how they can provide convenience retailers with key consumer insights and a competitive edge.

NACS offered a free webinar that shows retailers how to improve their current loyalty program.

The 2022 NACS Show, October 1-4, in Las Vegas includes four education sessions on marketing: Build a Better BrandCreating Fans of the Brand: Your Social Media StrategyBenchmarking to Improve Loyalty Outcomes: Lessons from PDI and Coen Markets and Supercharge Your App.