On Wednesday, June 19, Panera Bread announced that it is focusing on a more “dinner-centric” menu at locations in Lexington, Kentucky in July and then at locations in Providence, Rhode Island in September.
According to the bakery-café chain, this expanded dinner menu will focus on items like protein bowls and flatbreads, as opposed to lunch items like soups and sandwiches. The new items will leverage existing ingredients, but additional staff will be required in the evening to prepare and cook the dinner foods.
Panera hopes to appeal to evening diners, especially with its nationwide food delivery expansion. About a quarter to a third of Panera’s sales can be attributed to dinner, so the company sees this meal as having massive potential.
“We stepped back about a year ago ... to say, ‘Over the next five years, where are we going to grow? Where are we going to get most of our value creation?’” says Dan Wegiel, Panera’s chief growth and strategy officer.
The menu focuses on ten hand-crafted items, such as the aforementioned bowls and flatbreads, that will be available from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
“Panera’s craveable new dinner options are helping to meet guests demand to eliminate the trade-off between good for you and ease. Like all Panera menu items, all offerings are 100 percent clean with no artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavors, or colors from artificial sources,” Panera said in its news release.