Panera to Launch Heartier Dinner Options

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Taking cues from increasing sales during the dinner hour, Panera Bread announced on Wednesday that it would soon launch a new dinner-centric menu during the evening hours of operation.

Panera said that the company had seen dinner meal sales accounting for between a quarter and a third of its total business. While the company has historically focused on breakfast offerings such as bagels and pastries during the morning and sandwiches, soups, and salads during the other times of the day, it is hoping that this expanded menu will drive more foot traffic to the quick-casual restaurant during the dinner hours.

The new menu items will be offered daily starting at 4:30 pm. Company executives hope that the menu roll-out will cause people to begin thinking of Panera as a solid dinner option.

The ten additional menu offerings will deliver a more substantial and heartier meal than the traditional sandwiches and salads offered during this time period. Included in the menu launch are items such as a teriyaki chicken and broccoli bowl and a pesto chicken bowl. Both of these offerings will be served over a rice and quinoa blend.

Three new flatbreads also join the lineup. Diners can choose between margherita, chipotle chicken and bacon, and steak and blue cheese. Also new are three new side dishes. Guests will be able to now add a side of parmesan broccoli, a tomato basil and cucumber salad mix, and sweet mashed potato.

Two new sandwiches round out the options with the toasted pastrami and toasted Tuscan grilled chicken.

The revamped menu will launch in July at select test locations in Lexington, Kentucky. The items will then be made available in September in Providence, Rhode Island. Panera is also hoping that these new offerings will lead to more sales in the meal delivery segment.

The dinner expansion comes on the heels of a successful breakfast revamp. Last April, the popular chain restaurant added more variety to its breakfast menu with wraps and cold brew coffee selections.

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