ST. LOUIS—Panera Bread announced the launch of three new sandwiches the chain is calling Toasted Baguettes: Green Goddess Caprese, Pepperoni Mozzarella and Smoky Buffalo Chicken. This is the first time Panera has created a sandwich on its signature French baguette.
The sandwiches will be available nationwide on January 12, but MyPanera members will receive early access to Toasted Baguettes now through January 11. According to Panera, the launch of Toasted Baguettes builds on the QSR’s top-selling sandwich category.
"At Panera, our chefs and bakers know that our iconic Panera baguette is beloved by our guests as a side to our many soups, salads and entrees, so, what better way to deliver a new craveable innovation than by using it for a sandwich filled with bold and fresh flavors?" said Claes Petersson, head chef and chief food innovation officer, Panera Bread.
Additionally, Panera is giving away free Toasted Baguettes sandwiches in some of the coldest U.S. cities. Starting January 17 through January 22, if temperatures hit 32 degrees or below in New York City, Boston, Denver, Washington, D.C., or Chicago, Panera will drop a code for a free Toasted Baguette sandwich on local digital billboards. Plus, in Chicago, Panera will be making the promo code drop in the actual snow.
"Our Toasted Baguettes take inspiration from the best cafes in Europe, with fresh and clean ingredients that define Panera's food with a heavy emphasis on both abundance and value for our guests," said Eduardo Luz, chief brand and concept officer, Panera Bread.
Last fall, Panera Bread updated its loyalty program to include choice-based rewards. Panera’s loyalty program, MyPanera, now allows members to select their reward from multiple options based on their personal preferences, instead of a single, pre-selected reward.
QSRs are attempting to up their level of convenience, as Forbes recently reported that convenience stores could be taking market share from quick-serve restaurants. Panera recently opened an updated urban store format in New York and plans to open its first Panera To Go in New York next month after a successful pilot earlier this year. The Panera To Go format lacks dine-in seating and offers only Rapid Pick-Up and delivery shelves.
“At Panera, our innovation has always been rooted in the guest and associate experience, how we can reduce friction, drive convenience and bring Panera to new places where we know the demand is high for the freshly-prepared food we serve,” said Luz.
The convenience factor is an influencing reason on the industry’s increased market share in food sales. “As c-stores upgrade their foodservice offerings to be on par with QSRs, consumers may be more likely to choose the option that is most convenient for them,” writes Forbes. “Speed is one factor, but so is location (consider that 7-Eleven footprint) and additional offerings, like gas or beer. For the latter, the scale will always tip in c-stores’ favor.”