Panera Has Accomplished a Lot in Two Years

Panera has come a long way since its last Responsibility Report.
Panera has come a long way since its last Responsibility Report.
flickr: Mike Mozart

It has been two years since Panera Bread issued its last Responsibility Report chronicling the brand’s success. To say a lot has happened since would be a slight understatement.

Forgetting the April announcement that Panera agreed to be purchased by Krispy Kreme parent company JAB Holding for $7.5 billion, the fast casual leader looks pretty different than it did a mere 24 months ago.

On Thursday, Panera issued a 2016 edition of the Report to inform guests, associates, and stakeholders of the company’s “strategic vision for delivering on its values and commitments,” and what steps it has taken to get there.

“Since Panera’s founding, we’ve been on a journey to have a positive impact on people’s lives, the communities we serve and the food system as a whole,” founder and CEO Ron Shaich says in a statement. “We do that not only by offering food that tastes good and is good for you, but by living up to our commitments and demonstrating leadership in areas like wellness and sustainability that matter to us and our stakeholders. This report shares where we are on our journey, the milestones we’ve achieved, and where we hope to go from here.”

Among those key accomplishments, according to Panera, were:

Achieving 100 percent clean food by removing artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavors and colors from artificial sources from the U.S. food menu and Panera at Home consumer packaged products.

Launching a new line of moderate to no-added sugar self-serve beverages and transparently disclosing added sugar and calories at beverage stations. Read more about the move here.

Converting nearly 70 percent of company-owned bakery-cafes to Panera 2.0 and introducing a major expansion of small-order Delivery.

Donating more than $100 million each year to help fight food insecurity through Panera’s Day-End Dough-Nation program.

Operating Panera Cares nonprofit community cafes aimed at addressing food insecurity by allowing guests to pay what they can for delicious and nutritious meals to be enjoyed in a dignified manner.

Since Panera’s JAB Holding announcement not much has been shared about the company’s future under new direction. The Luxembourg-based company’s history—it also owns Caribou Coffee, Keurig Green Mountain, and Peet’s Coffee & Tea—would lead one to believe Panera next step could be a massive global one. But only time will tell. In the interim, Panera continues to power forward digitally. The company announced mid-June that it was tracking past $1 billion in digital sales for the year. Panera’s digital sales represented 26 percent of total company sales at the end of the first quarter. Broken down, that’s around 1.2 million digital orders per week.

This followed the April announcement that Panera planned to hire 10,000 employees to boost its delivery service from 15 to 35—40 percent of the entire system in 2017.