When Panera Bread shifted to takeout and delivery only in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, half its business evaporated, says CEO Niren Chaudhary. This week starts an effort to get some of it back. CNBC reports that as of Monday consumers are able to order some groceries through "Panera Grocery" via Panera's website and app, and not just bread, bagels, and cream cheese. Gallons of milk for $4.99, 32-ounce containers of yogurt, tomatoes, avocados, grapes, blueberries, and apples are among the other offerings. Forbes notes the groceries can be picked up curbside or delivered within 40 minutes.
The move comes as the chain hopes to benefit from what CNBC reports is a 73% boom in grocery sales year-over-year. In Chaudhary's view, "It's a win for our associates because we will be able to keep our cafes open longer, and it's great from a business standpoint because it should be incremental profit and revenue for us at a time when we desperately need it." USA Today reports participating California Pizza Kitchen outposts are doing something similar, with consumers able to pick up items like a 3-pound bag of sugar, a dozen eggs, and a 10-pound bag of pasta. (Read more Panera Bread stories.)