Sunday, April 12, 2020

Why is Panera Just Loafing

Most regular readers of this blog know by now that Panera Bread has begun to experiment selling groceries? Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®, Steven Johnson stated “the way Panera Bread entered grocerant niche sales was a mistake.”
Back in the day Johnson worked on projects for and with Au Bon Pain and Louis Kane as many regular readers of this blog know.  Most of you also know of the great success Au Bon Pain had, has with catering sales in city centers, there early use of online ordering, and delivery and how they evolve the St. Louis Bread Company into what is now (the spinoff) Panera Bread. In Spanish Panera meaning “granary” or “breadbasket” has now never been more important when thinking of the future of the chain according to Johnson.
Success does leave clues.  Panera Bread without a doubt has left many success clues for other fast casual chains to learn from and many more clues for those simply wanting to learn what it means to consistently do more things right the almost any other restaurant company for the past 25 years.
When Panera Bread joined the growing number of restaurant chains that are leveraging their sourcing capabilities to provide for the basic food needs of their customers by offering groceries. It appears they simply jumped in, took the easy route.  The opportunity for Panera Breaded to become the breadbasket for the local communities was overlooked.

Johnson insist Panera Bread’s goal should be evolve the concepts business model platform into a ‘breadbasket for today’s consumers’, and a solution to the age-old question; What’s for Dinner, integrating both its goal and brand messaging.  
While Panera is selling “baked goods, dairy and produce at its more than 2,000 locations available for takeout — through Panera’s rapid pickup, curbside pickup or drive-thru — as well as delivery.” All can be ordered with Panera’s regular menu items or separately on the chain’s website or app.
The app Panera Grocery purchases are applied to reward points in the chain’s MyPanera loyalty program, and the current offer of $5 off of purchases of $15 or more applies to groceries as well.” Johnson notes “That’s simply a reactive solution, short sighted, and with a mixed branded messaging.”  
When Panera CEO Niren Chaudhary said in a press release announcing the new offerings. “With this new service we can help deliver good food and fresh ingredients from our pantry to yours, helping provide better access to essential items that are increasingly harder to come by.” That was simply reactive messaging, clearly rushed. 
The reason the grocerant niche has been the undercurrent of growth in every sector of retail foodservice for the past 15 years driving customer migration is because the key elements are consumer touchpoints that many legacy retailer have either denied, over-looked, or refused to entertain according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®.  Here lets take a look at what Panera is offering today:
·         Avocados: $1.49 each
·         Tomatoes: $1.49 each
·         Blueberries: $2.99 for 6-ounce container
·         Red Grapes: $5.99 per bag of around 2 pounds
·         Greek Yogurt: $5.99 per tub
·         Kids’ strawberry or mixed berry yogurt tubes: $7.99 for 16
·         Skim or 2% milk: $4.99 per gallon

Success does leave clues.  Panera Bread can and should excel within the grocerant niche.  Johnson stated he is confident that Panera will implement something the ilk of Foodservice Solutions® four steps too success: build, measure, learn, and repeat. Then they can take lessons learned, creating a new platform to drive incremental top line sales and bottom line profits. Or they can call the Grocerant Guru® for insights learned over the past 26 years leading the grocerant niche and more forward with fresh food fast edifying consumer relevant touchpoints.  
Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant Program Assessment, Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®.  Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869

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