- Panera will add three toasted baguette sandwiches, starting at $9.99, to its menu beginning Jan. 12, the company announced Friday. MyPanera Rewards members will receive early access to the menu items on Jan. 11.
- As part of the launch, Panera will release a code redeemable for free toasted baguette sandwiches between Jan. 17 and Jan. 22 if temperatures drop below 32 degrees in New York City, Boston, Denver, Washington, D.C., or Chicago.
- This is the first time Panera has created sandwiches using its baguettes. The sandwiches build on the chain’s “warm and hearty” offerings, which target both lunch and dinner dayparts, the company wrote in an email to Restaurant Dive.
Panera’s toasted baguette sandwiches join several new items the chain has added in the last three years, including flatbread pizzas, grain bowls and chicken sandwiches. The company also began a test of bakery-inspired milkshakes in November.
Other fast casual restaurants have been expanding their menus as well. Sweetgreen added its first dessert last year as part of its strategy to expand dayparts and grow its core customer base. Chipotle added quesadillas to its digital menu in 2021.
Panera said its toasted baguette sandwiches gives the chain an opportunity to provide a menu item that isn’t widely available in the U.S., which could capture incremental customers.
Sandwiches also remain the company’s top-selling category and the company said its 2022 chicken sandwich was its most successful launch to-date. The new line of sandwiches were developed using Panera’s strategy of leveraging iconic menu items, expanding across dayparts and reaching new customers, the company said.
In addition to expanding its menu, the company has been looking into different formats adapted for different markets. It opened its first updated urban store last year in New York City, as part of its strategy to expand into more densely populated areas. The company is targeting more nontraditional locations like hospitals and universities. Panera also opened its first digital-only restaurant in Chicago in June.