Panera adds pizza to its menu to double down on dinner

Panera fans, rejoice! The fast casual bakery-cafe chain is adding pizza to its menu.

Panera fans, rejoice! The fast casual bakery-cafe chain is adding pizza to its menu.

Three pizza options will be available to Panera customers — Cheese, Margherita and Chipotle Chicken & Bacon — and they will range in price from $8 to $9, depending on the flavor.

"Our guests have been asking for this for years," Panera Bread's chief brand and concept officer Eduardo Luz said in a press release.

The move comes as interest in fast casual breakfast declines during the pandemic. Before the pandemic, Panera had started focusing on its dinner business, which represented more than 30% of the company's sales, and the introduction of pizza is further a move in that direction. Panera is counting on its new pizza to boost its dinner sales.

While the nearly 35-year-old brand focuses on dinner time, other fast casual chains are competing for a breakfast comeback. McDonald's, for example, introduced new pastries for the first time in a decade on Wednesday.

"As restaurant traffic across the industry increasingly shifts to later in the day, Flatbread Pizzas allow Panera to further compete across dayparts and appeal to off-premise consumer preferences," the company said in a press release.

It's been a busy month for new releases in the the fast food world. Dunkin' added a spicy donut to its menu, Papa John's introduced a new cheeseburger pizza, Wendy's rolled out a new chicken sandwich and Kentucky Fried Chicken released a new sauce.

Panera has doubled its delivery business year-over-year with more than half of its sales occurring out of stores.

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