Panera Boosts Catering Offering with Nationwide Rollout

Fast-casual staple Panera is making an interesting catering call – they’re ready to cater your next meeting, even if the employees attending it are spread out across the country.

This is a response to a dramatic dip in catering revenue during the pandemic, as well as a forecast for work that will see many employees remain hybrid at least in the immediate term, if not permanently.

With more than 2,200 locations across the nation, the company said it’s catered meetings for hundreds of employees spread out across America, a practice it’s rolling out to its loyalty program members now. Eventually, any customer will be able to take advantage, provided the order is paid for via credit card.

To take it a step further, Panera will also offer group ordering, which will empower employees or other members of a larger group or organization to order food individually at a discount for an order to be delivered all at once.

The idea, the company says, is to provide an alternative to the corporate cafeterias of the pre-pandemic work landscape.

CEO Niren Chaudhary weighed in, calling the move a positive one for the future of the foodservice chain.

“We already have our own delivery fleet, and, on top of that, we have added our partnership with third-party aggregators,” Chaudhary said.

“Here’s the thing. We actually find that the third-party aggregator model is incremental to our delivery infrastructure that we have, because it gives us access to the evening, day, and the weekends, something that we didn’t quite have with our own infrastructure. So, we see this actually being good for us.”

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