Panera Bread CEO Ron Shaich outlined his vision for creating a platform for growth moving forward. The vision is filled with contemporary consumer relevance. His approach is a macro Omni-Channel strategy with micro customer grouping tactics, leveraging technology, and big data.
Panera is on track with Non-traditional avenues of fresh food distribution including Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat aka Grocerant Niche food according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru™ Steven Johnson.
The goal in the plan dubbed Panera 2.0 is being rollout to “reduce ordering friction” for customers by implementing a variety of ways to order more quickly thus driving top line growth.
Shaich said that Panera had secured a 5-year, $100M term loan to support the Panera 2.0. Shaich went on to say the digital investment is necessary and that it will take time in fact it may be more costly than anticipated as he asked investors to patient through an expected slowing in earnings growth.
Shaich stated “We need to figure out where the world is going and make sure we’re prepared for it. We have a big ship to move. It can take several years before we get traction,” he said. “We must expand our vehicles for growth.”
There is a lot to look at in Omni-Channel retail today including mobile/online ordering, kiosk ordering and large-scale catering, another “vehicle for growth” In addition “Panera is looking at is small check delivery, which it is already doing in some locations. Shaich said the company began understanding the power of large and small order delivery in 2013, when it began building a “world-class IT function.”…
“I work from home sometimes and there is a Panera two blocks away in every direction. I often ask, do I really want to get in a car, get in line, order and wait? It’s a long process, so I usually end up in the fridge scrounging around for leftovers,” he said. “There are millions of people out there who want Panera but why aren’t we serving them? Shouldn’t we be in the delivery business?” Shaich stated.
Panera 2.0, he added, is a vision to offer more than one service because every customer wants to interact with the brand differently.
“Our goal is to improve Panera’s competitive positioning,” he said. “We are trying to figure out how to bring Panera to you; trying to figure out this small order delivery.”
Panera has developed hubs in its larger markets to help facilitate delivery on both a large (catering) and small-ticket scale. Shaich said the team has to “get the physical aspects” down before they can move forward with the service.
In addition to its no-line 2.0 features and delivery tests, Panera is also “working on” new footprints and opening in hospitals, universities, urban areas and small towns. Non-traditional avenues of fresh food distribution for Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat aka Grocerant Niche food is driving growth in every sector of food retail today.
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