How Is Panera Bread Responding To The Pandemic?

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Meta Description: Wondering how Panera Bread is responding to the coronavirus pandemic? Let this clue you in.

In these times of crisis, a lot of us would want to bring our business to the right people. Most would like to ensure that their hard-earned money is supporting brands who are doing their best for their teams and communities. It’s a way to meet not just one’s physical needs but also an easy technique to participate in the economy in a morally positive way.

Since food is one of the most basic necessities of humans, many are very conscious as to where they’ll get their food nowadays. Most folks are not just after the value, amount, and quality of the food as well as the caliber of the service. A restaurant or food brand’s politics and charitable deeds can also attract or turn away customers. A food brand or restaurant’s values can also be a criterion for judging for many consumers nowadays.

If you’re curious if you should continue to patronize Panera Bread or should you take your business elsewhere, here’s a quick roundup of their response to the pandemic and other pressing issues today.

Providing Support to their Team Members

We truly believe that a company’s generosity should always start from within the ranks. Their charitable donations and efforts will mean nothing if they are incapable of looking after and taking care of their own employees.

This is why Panera Bread’s efforts in providing support for their associates is notable. They implemented several policies that are designed to provide relief to their team members during the pandemic.

For starters, they launched an Emergency Sick Pay policy which will allow employees to stay home if they got sick or infected with COVID 19. They have expanded their Sick Pay and promised to cover the costs for required testing for the coronavirus.

Panera also started a weekly program that will provide meals to their associates. They also launched the Friends in Knead program which will provide critically needed financial support for associates who are in need. The funds are mostly from employee donations and the company.

New Ways to Serve Consumers

Panera Bread also responded to the changes brought by the pandemic in a way that is mutually beneficial for the company and their customers. The new policies they have adopted were not just out of the kindness of their hearts but they had to do most of them to ensure everyone’s safety and to survive the crisis that comes with the lock down.

Like many other restaurants, they had to amp up their delivery services as well as craft a system for more efficient takeaway packaging and curb pick-ups. They sped up their turnaround time for orders to serve more customers and lessen the contact between associates and diners. They also offered free delivery for the month of March to entice more people to order.

Aside from these, they also started selling select grocery items in their stores. Since buying groceries have become too time consuming and downright dangerous for some, Panera Bread started to offer some basic items in their stores. These included many of the ingredients they use in making their food like flour, fresh produce, dairy, and many others.

By providing such a service to the public, they provide a less bothersome way for consumers to get access to the most basic items that they need. It also helps them move their inventory items even if the food sales are down. It’s a win-win for everyone, especially since these grocery items can also be ordered for delivery.

Additional Efforts to Give Back to Those in Need

Even during a health and economic crisis, Panera Bread continues with its charitable giving. This isn’t surprising since they have always actively given back to communities and helped out those in need through different efforts and campaigns. 

So even when times are tough and the sales are down, Panera Bread continues working with Feeding America to ensure that their excess food reaches those who are in great need. This practice isn’t a new effort since they’ve been donating their unsold food for years already. However, to continue to do so despite the current challenges the chain faces is quite a laudable act.

Sustaining their existing efforts is not enough for the chain as they recognized that there’s a more pressing need to help out during these tough times. This is why they have partnered with Chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen (WCK) in its #ChefsForAmerica initiative. This program is created to provide meals to the neediest during the pandemic. They also provide support to frontliners.

They also partnered with the USDA and Children’s Hunger Alliance to provide meals to children who are deemed vulnerable to hunger in the state of Ohio. Their stores prepare hot meals as a part of this initiative. They’re also looking into expanding the program to cater to other states around the country.

For the Greater Good

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Panera Bread is taking appropriate and meaningful actions in response to the pandemic. The chain has always been about doing good – from the food they serve to the causes they support. The latest challenges just allowed them to present new ways to exhibit their creativity and showcase their generous spirit. 

So if you want to dine out sans the guilt (from calories and other things), give this chain a try.

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