Panera Bread’s new coffee subscription program offers unlimited coffee for $8.99 a month

Panera Bread has brewed up a hot proposition that’s sure to get caffeine addicts buzzing: A bottomless cup of joe.

For $8.99 a month with Panera’s new coffee subscription program, get unlimited hot or iced coffee for less than the average price of five cups at the St. Louis-based fast-casual chain. One cup daily in a 30-day month averages around 30 cents a cup.

Panera CEO Niren Chaudhary told USA TODAY the idea is to disrupt the industry with a program unlike any others.

“There are no ifs and buts, this is truly unlimited access to coffee for a monthly subscription of $8.99,” Chaudhary said, noting all cup sizes are included and time of day doesn’t matter.

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Registration for the coffee subscription officially launches nationwide Thursday on the Panera app and website. Starting Monday, you can also sign up at Panera’s nearly 2,200 locations using a QR code.

But the first step to getting cup after cup of coffee or hot tea is to be a member of the chain’s free loyalty program, MyPanera, which has 38 million members.

“This is a new way to add value for loyalty members and really help subscribe long term loyalty,” said Sara Burnett, Panera vice president of wellness and food policy.

Panera tested its program at 150 locations in four markets – Nashville, Tennessee; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio – over three months.

Chaudhary said they saw a 200% increase in the frequency of visits and a 70% increase in consumers buying food with the coffee. In the test, Panera saw a 90% to 95% renewal rate… Read More