By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium
ST. JOSEPH — Panera Bread announced a plan to introduce delivery services to all its locations within the next year.
The sandwich shop and bakery chain says it plans to offer “high-quality and healthy dishes” off its entire menu in every store by 2018.
It was tested in a select few markets, including a few in western Michigan. The Panera Bread in St. Joseph Township wasn’t a test market, but is expected to be included in the service.
“We’ve found this has been a great success,” Dan Wegiel, senior vice president of Panera to You, said in a news release. “Across our various markets, we’ve seen the demand for convenient and quality service grow, so we’re committed to this.”
Other initial testing markets for the delivery services were Louisville, Ky., and Charlotte, N.C. By the time delivery service got to Michigan in May of last year, Wegiel said the company was confident enough with success in delivery service to begin planning a rollout phase.
By the end of 2016, Panera had delivery at 15 percent of its chain, or about 300 restaurants, in multiple markets.
The company plans to hire 10,000 people, mostly drivers, as part of the expanded service.
Wegiel said Panera expects to see a 10 percent increase in the volume of work as a result of adding delivery service.
Panera delivery orders will come with a $5 order minimum and $3 delivery service fee. Orders can be placed online or through the company’s app.
In recent years, Panera added the ability to order by iPads inside restaurants as part of its Panera 2.0 technology initiative.
Panera Bread is a bakery/cafe that specializes in fresh-made sandwiches, soup served in bread bowls, fresh salads, pastries and hot and iced coffee drinks.
Construction began in the fall of 2005 on the strip mall at the corner of Niles and Hollywood roads in St. Joseph Township. It was then opened in the spring of 2006.
(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on March 24, 2017)