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    Panera’s Delivery Program Goes National

  • The fast casual is now delivering in 43 states nationwide.

    flickr: Mike Mozart
    Panera Bread's delivery platform has big potential for the fast casual.

    Panera’s in-house delivery program has ramped up in recent months. It culminated with Tuesday’s news that the fast casual leader’s service is now live in 897 cities and 43 states nationwide.

    “Panera delivery isn’t a pilot program. It’s not in just a few test markets. We now offer delivery across the country,” said Blaine Hurst, Panera CEO, in a statement. “Delivery is fueling our next phase of growth, and the success we have seen so far is exciting. The combination of providing clean food options via an entirely digital experience is giving us a real advantage, and the momentum is just beginning.”

    Panera celebrated the milestone by offering a one-day giveaway of soup for delivery orders on May 9 with the code “PANERADELIVERS.” The service is entirely digital via Panera’s app or website, and is available for lunch and dinner to offices, hospitals, college campuses, and to diner’s doors, the company said.

    Panera said it hired more than 10,000 drivers and employees systemwide by the end of 2017 to accommodate the increase in orders. Overall, Panera’s delivery program created more than 13,000 jobs since launch. Panera doesn’t deploy third-party platforms for delivery.

    Digital business, including online, app, and kiosk orders, currently accounts for 30 percent of total company sales. Panera said delivery can be achieved within an 8-minute drive of most orders and typically will be available between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m., seven days a week, for as little as a $5 menu purchase with a $3 delivery fee.

    Panera began implementing delivery in 2016. The company announced in April 2017 that it was looking to hire 10,000 new employees and expand the service—an initiative that, at the time, would affect 35–40 percent of total locations. Before, Panera offered delivery at just around 15 percent of its system (20 percent at company-owned).

    Panera, which agreed to be purchased by JAB Holding in a $7.5 billion deal in early April, told CNBC it forecasts delivery adding $250,000 per year to each store’s annual revenue of $2.6 million.

    As of March 27, there were 2,076 bakery-cafes in 46 states and in Ontario, Canada, operating under the Panera Bread, Saint Louis Bread Co.  or Paradise Bakery & Cafe names