What’s The Top-Selling Food During The Pandemic? Pizza, So Panera Wants To Give Dough A Go.

In this Wednesday, April 12, 2017, photo, a passer-by walks near an entrance to a Panera Bread restaurant location, in Natick, Mass. On Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, Panera said that each of its fountain drink cups will list the amount of added sugar and calories in seven of its beverages. The move is the latest by the company to try and appeal to Americans who are increasingly concerned about what’s in their food and drinks. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

With the pandemic shifting people away from casual breakfasts and lunches, Panera is going all in on increasing dinner and delivery sales by unveiling a line of flatbread pizzas.

The casual bakery café chain known for sandwiches and soups announced the move Wednesday, revealing a new menu of cheese, margherita and chipotle chicken and cheese pizzas for $8 to $9 at 2,200 locations.

Our guests have been asking for this for years,” said Panera Chief Brand and Concept Officer Eduardo Luz in a press release.

Panera said it has doubled its delivery business in the past year, so pizza was the next logical move, especially as its relatively young dinner menu now accounts for 30% of its business.

Half of Panera’s business comes from outside its stores. Pizzas fit cleanly into its “double-digit” drive-thru order growth and are the leading food-order item of the pandemic. Datassential said 63% of survey respondents have sought out pizza.

Panera’s menu made a preemptive strike to eliminate some menu items earlier this year, clearing the way for the three new pizza offerings. The last menu addition was grain bowls. Pizza, please.

“Our flatbread pizzas encompass the best of what Panera has to offer: clean, delicious ingredients from our pantry on top of oven-baked flatbread that is expertly crafted for our guests,” Panera Chief Food and Innovation Officer Claes Petersson, a former Pizza Hut food innovation officer, said in a statement.

Just don’t judge when we order a pastry with the pizza.

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