Panera Bread Teardown: MyPanera

Panera Bread Teardown: MyPanera

MyPanera is a fabulous example of adapting to circumstance and coming out stronger than before. Panera Bread's Loyalty program is a great example of thinking outside the box, and what might initially seem like a loss, actually can be a greater win than intended.

Panera Bread’s Loyalty Teardown


What is Panera Bread?


Panera Bread, surprisingly, is one of the largest private fast-casual food chains in America. You wouldn’t believe it isn’t a local establishment at first glance. 


The cozy and warm atmosphere, fresh bread bowls and pastries accompanied by the comforting earthy tones welcoming you in. They perfected this rather large enterprise, to be under the guise of a neighborhood bakery and cafe.


Panera came out pretty high in consumer and business eyes alike, after adapting to the Covid-19 pandemic. 


They made vast advancements in their purchasing process to align with the sink-hole sized gaps that appeared so suddenly, and made new offerings such as subscriptions that are incredibly desirable to consumers, adapting well during economic distress. Their revenues shot up from 40%  to 85% from the delivery, catering and drive-thru options they integrated due to the pandemic.


So, it's no surprise that MyPanera Rewards has been so successful, as many other companies have tried and failed with similar programs.


What’s the program?


MyPanera Rewards is a free loyalty program that lets you earn discounted or free sandwiches and salads, and personalized exclusive offers at any of the Panera Bread branches within the United States and Canada.


A branch of the program that enticed most customers and gave the biggest bang for the buck must be their coffee subscription. 


You can sign up for it as a MyPanera plus rewards member. For a mere $8.99 a month (10.99 with tax), you can have unlimited tea, both hot and iced coffees and now, even their charged lemonade!


For a society that relies heavily on caffeinated beverages and can easily spend that much a day at certain coffee chains, only paying $8.99 for an entire month is a great investment.


How does it work?


The program is easy to use and understand, even though it isn’t based on the simple point based system many are accustomed to. They use a visit-based system (To learn more about the different types of loyalty programs, click here!) which means you earn rewards based on how many visits you make, they keep track of your purchases  automatically when swiping your card per visit or making a purchase through their applications, and in return provide you with coupon-like rewards.


Each time you visit, the bottom of your receipt will tell you how many visits are left until your next reward or you can find it on your account. This is an incentive for customers who want to be loyal but also want something else from their favorite restaurant chain: money back! 


By tracking these types of data about customer behavior,  Panera can determine what types of promotions work best for each individual as well as restaurant location based on how busy its sales are during certain times of day or week; other restaurants adopting this strategy can plan future marketing strategies accordingly if they decide to open up new locations later down the line.


Customers are not only saving a pretty penny but also this program offers exclusive and special perks for both the consumer and the business.


What makes it so special?


MyPanera Rewards helps Panera measure loyalty.


The MyPanera team can use this data to anticipate and respond to a variety of customer events. For example, if you're a frequent user of Panera's mobile app , you'll know that your favorite restaurants have been around for years—but they also keep adding new ones!


The same data is used to personalize the rewards given to the consumer, and offer them discounts and freebies based on their purchase history.


The MyPanera Rewards data allows the company to analyze, in real time, how its customers are responding to different kinds of rewards and what they're willing to do to get them.

To keep customers engaged in using their rewards, Panera has made it easy for them by providing information about upcoming promotions and specials through email newsletters or social media posts (like Facebook). It also encourages customer feedback through their app.


People who join the program tend to increase their orders and their spending after joining, as well as come back more often and spend more per visit than people who don't join the program. This is because they have more rewards to use.


Having the customers track themselves on their account, means they can be on the app more and reap the additional convenient benefits they provide. Such as contactless-dine in (ordering beforehand and going to pick up when ready).


Is it successful?


Panera Bread found that customers who used their MyPanera Rewards card were more likely than those who didn't use it at all (or used it less) to buy more and more often. The covid-19 generated omnichannel shift really revved up their revenues, and their rewards program is definitely a big reason as well, although the main focus is the coffee subscription over the main rewards program and is thought to be the reason of having the 25% increase in their loyalty program. 


They had a 200% increase in their visits during the pilot stage of the coffee subscription, and with those visits of course inevitably had more orders, but the majority wasn’t just drinks, it included food as well.


Which means targeting just one part of their services and enhancing it, encouraged growth all around not just the focus area, making it a successful program!