Panera Bread: Scrumptious Success
A Slice of History
Panera Bread’s history is as exciting and unique as the service and products it provides. Founded by Louis Kane and Ron Shaich in 1981 under the name Au Bon Pain Co., Inc, the business was primarily located along the east coast of the United States. It expanded throughout the 1980s and 1990s to become the primary operator of bakery-cafes. Basking in the sweetness of success, Au Bon Pain Co., Inc was able to purchase a chain of 20 bakery-cafes in the St. Louis area called Saint Louis Bread Company®.
Au Bon Pain Co., Inc re-staged the Saint Louis Bread Co. bakery-cafes, increasing average unit volumes by 75% between 1993 and 1997. At this point, the company’s name became Panera Bread as it is known today, and in 2009, Panera Bread purchased another major bakery-cafe chain called Paradise Bakery & Café®, home to over 70 locations in 10 states nationwide.
Today, there are over a thousand bakery-cafes across the United States and in Ontario Canada operating under the Panera Bread®, Saint Louis Bread Co.® and Paradise Bakery & Café® titles. Though there are three different names for the company, customers can expect the same great artisan flavor, warm environment, and quality service no matter which branch they choose.
A Reputation Straight from the Oven
As the name might suggest, Panera Bread is famous for its delicious artisan bread. The bread is baked fresh in the cafes’ ovens every day and comes in a wide variety of styles. Customers can choose from: French, ciabatta, honey wheat, asiago cheese, tomato basil, sourdough, focaccia, cinnamon raisin, and more.
Because Panera Bread is a bakery-cafe and not just a bakery, customers can purchase sandwiches, soups, hand-tossed salads along with pastries, sweets, parfaits, drinks, and other products as well.
Load it Up: The Panera Card
The Panera Card is Panera Bread’s reloadable gift card that is more convenient than cash and loose change. Anyone can purchase a Panera Card and load it up with money online. There is no service charge for using the card, so every penny goes towards oven-baked goodness. The Panera Card can either be purchased at a baker-cafe in person, or on Panera Bread’s website where the card account can be managed as well. The card makes a great gift for any anyone, and for any occasion.
It should be noted that a Panera Card from Canada cannot be used in the United States, and Panera Cards from the United States cannot be used in Canada. Canadian Panera Cards can be reloaded at any Canadian Panera Bread bakery-cafe while US cards can be reloaded either at the company’s website or at a store location. When cards are reloaded online, the amount of money added to the card appears on the card’s balance instantly. Additionally, a customer has an option when making a reload. The customer can choose between a one-time transaction, or an automatic reload every time the card dips below a selected minimum amount.
Along with purchasing excellent food, the Panera Card can be used for another good cause. Using the Panera Card, a customer can choose to donate money to the St. Louis Bread Co. Cares Cafe, a Panera Bread store that is entirely non-profit and asks only that customers “pay what they want” for their order.
Discount Dollars Online
Unfortunately, it is quite difficult to find legitimate coupons for Panera Bread online by searching at sites like Google. Most of the websites claiming coupons and discounts are actually scams, which makes finding the real websites more trouble than paying the extra few dollars an order at Panera Bread costs at full price.
Discount Dollars Online at Panerabread.com
Occasionally, Panera Bread offers seasonal promotions at discounted prices. These deals can be taken advantage of by signing up for Panera Bread’s E-Newsletter. Though e-newsletters of any kind sometimes seem like spam, Panera Bread’s is not. The e-newsletter not only contains information about discounted products, but also information about future sales, recipes that are as simple as they are delicious, and various intriguing facts to delight enthusiasts. Though Panera Bread does not offer printable coupons, the e-newsletter is a creative and contemporary way for customers to stay connected to their favorite bakery-cafe.
Discount Dollars Offline
Along with offering deals through the e-newsletter, Panera Bread also offers coupons to customers at random after a purchase. Customers may receive a receipt that notifies them of receiving something similar to two dollars off the total cost of their next purchase or even a free desert item or drink. However, because these coupons are relatively rare, customers should still consider signing up for the e-newsletter to ensure they get every bang for their buck possible.