Exclusive: Breakfast Delivery Is Coming to Panera Bread
Panera Bread will now bring breakfast to you.
The company announced Wednesday that in addition to lunch and dinner on-demand, cafes in 231 cities will offer breakfast delivery.
Panera began its delivery service with lunch and dinner in 2014, opting to build its own fleet of drivers rather than partner with a third-party like UberEats or GrubHub. Now the company has about 20,000 employees dropping meals off with its customers and delivery is offered in nearly 75% of their system across the country.
“Delivery has been one of our largest growth initiatives at Panera in the last 10 years,” CEO and president Blaine Hurst told Fortune. “My belief is [breakfast] makes sense more and more as we continue to see our delivery sales grow.”
Breakfast deliveries will begin on Thursday at 381 participating cafes and the company hopes to add 30 additional locations by the end of the year. Orders of $5 or more can be delivered for a fee from participating Panera cafes, though breakfast hours will vary by location.
Expanding delivery is also the restaurant’s latest move in the breakfast wars, which have long been dominated by McDonalds. Currently, breakfast sales account for about 20% of Panera’s business, according to Hurst.
While momentum for fast casual restaurants like Panera has slowed in the last year, the breakfast category continues to be one of the hottest in the food industry. In fact, breakfast is the only meal of the day that’s grown for American restaurants over the past few years, according to NPD group.
“2019 is the year of breakfast at Panera,” Hurst said. “Between delivery and product and execution, you’ll continue to see a focus on breakfast. We should be good at it.”
He says customers have been asking for breakfast since the launch of Panera’s delivery program.
“Customers want what they want to eat, when they want it, how they want it, and where they want it,” he said. “So the ultimate mission of a brand of our scale and size has got to be to provide you that great food wherever, whenever, however you want it.”
This means the delivery service, for breakfast, lunch and dinner, will continue to expand: Hurst says the company aims to add breakfast to 90% or more of Panera’s trade areas where meal delivery is available by the end of next year.