Published By Upzaar Team

How Panera Bread Created A Profitable, High-Volume Loyalty Program with MyPanera Rewards





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 are accompanied by comforting earthy tones, giving off a very welcoming feel. They perfected this rather large enterprise under the guise of a neighborhood bakery and cafe.


Panera came out pretty high after adapting to the Covid-19 pandemic. They made vast advancements in their purchasing process to align with the sinkhole-sized gaps that appeared so suddenly and made new offerings such as incredibly desirable subscriptions to consumers, adapting well during economic distress. Due to the pandemic, their revenues shot up from 40% to 85% from the delivery, catering, and drive-thru options they integrated.


So, it’s no surprise that MyPanera Rewards has succeeded, 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, 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 an excellent 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; Panera uses a visit-based system (To learn more about the different 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. It 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 kinds of promotions work best for each individual. They also track location-based data to understand how busy their sales are during certain times of the day or week. Other restaurants adopting this strategy can plan future marketing strategies accordingly if they decide to open new locations later.


Customers are saving a pretty penny, and this program offers exclusive and unique 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 various 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 its app.


People who join the program tend to increase their orders and spending after joining and come back more often and spend more per visit than those who don’t join the program. It’s 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).




The covid-19 generated omnichannel shift revved up their revenues, and their rewards program is also a big reason. However, the main focus is the coffee subscription over the main rewards program and is thought to be the reason for having the 25% increase in their loyalty program. They had a 200% increase in their visits during the pilot stage of the coffee subscription. Those visits inevitably had more orders, but the majority wasn’t just beverages. It included food as well.



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