Known for its soup, salads and, of course, bread, Panera Bread is adding flatbread pizza to its menu as demand for delivery and takeout surges in tandem with the coronavirus crisis.
On Wednesday (Oct. 28), Panera announced the launch of its latest menu item. The move comes along with what Panera says has been a doubling of its delivery service, with more than half of its sales now occurring “via off-premise challenges.”
Another likely inspiration behind Panera’s menu addition is booming takeout and delivery sales at Domino’s and other pizza chains. Domino’s and Papa John’s specifically have added tens of thousands of workers since March.
Panera is pitching the new pizzas as a standalone meal for one or as part of a larger, family-sized order accompanied by its trademark soups and salads.
The restaurant chain said it also plans to use its new lineup of flatbread pizzas to provide “a strong anchor” as it pushes to expand its dinner business. As it stands now, dinner has made up more than 30 percent of its sales, even without “much historical dedication,” Panera noted.
The pizzas are the work of newly appointed Chief Food Innovation Officer Claes Petersson, the company said.
Starting at $7.99 apiece, Panera’s new flatbread pizza lineup sports three different sets of toppings, cheese, margherita and chipotle chicken and bacon.
“At Panera, baking is at the core of who we are and what we’re known for – we knew that we had all the elements to bring our delicious, hearty flatbreads to life,” said Petersson in a press release. “With the launch of flatbread pizza, we are looking to redefine the expectation of pizza and carve out a niche for Panera in the pizza category. Our flatbread pizzas encompass the best of what Panera has to offer: clean, delicious ingredients from our pantry on top of oven-baked flatbread that is expertly crafted for our guests.”