Uncertain times are ahead for all of us within the industry, although at the heart of each business model is keeping consumers fed. Within the last few weeks, fast casual chains like Panera and Subway have pivoted their formats drastically to become mini grocery stores.
"From limited choices on grocery shelves to the growing need to limit the number of trips outside of the home, it is an incredibly stressful time when it comes to putting wholesome food on the table, and we knew Panera could help," said Niren Chaudhary, Panera CEO. "With this new service we can help deliver good food and fresh ingredients from our pantry to yours, helping provide better access to essential items that are increasingly harder to come by."
Panera Grocery, according to a press release, enables guests to purchase high-demand pantry items such as milk, bread, and fresh produce alongside their favorite Panera soup, salad, or sandwich.
Similarly, Subway just launched Subway Grocery, which gives consumers the chance to order food for pickup or delivery. The service is being offered in five states and has several participating locations in California, Oregon, Washington, Tennessee, and Connecticut.
“With most Subway dining rooms closed due to COVID-19, we’re using our access to food distribution to offer Subway ingredients to our local communities during this difficult time,” the company noted. “We hope our grocery offering will be a helpful, safer alternative to crowded grocery stores while also helping us support our amazing employees.”
Will more fast casual chains join in this endeavor? Deli Market News will continue to report.