Vegan Dining News

Panera Bread's new menu includes vegan options and protein-packed dishes

Vegan options and protein-packed dishes are on Panera Bread's new menu

Panera Bread corn chowder
Corn chowder is one of Panera's vegetarian options. Photo courtesy of Panera

The special diet club gets props from Panera Bread Company, which has added three new menu categories to its online and in-store ordering experience, making it easier to find vegan and low-calorie options.

The three new options are plant-based, protein-rich, and nutrient-packed, and are joining a list of more conventional categories such as soups, salads, and breakfast.

"Plant-based" is for vegetarians and vegans, and includes ingredients such as almonds, quinoa, Romaine, arugula, avocado, citrus, and blueberries.

"Protein rich" is described as a menu "for guests who are fitness-minded or just interested in the lasting energy that protein supplies." Just people who are really, really into protein.

"Nutrient-packed" includes meals with a balance of calories, fat, sodium, carbohydrates, fiber, and protein "to help fuel guests without over-indulging." They put that so nicely.

A representative at a Dallas-area location says that the special menus have already proven to be a hit, both in online orders and on the store. "We just started doing them about three weeks ago to accommodate our customers, as more vegan and Paleo customers were making requests," she says.

Panera began 30 years ago with a commitment to bake fresh bread every day. They've been ahead of the pack on technology, adding and perfecting services like mobile ordering.

According to a company spokesperson, as of the end of the first quarter of 2017, system-wide digital sales were 26 percent of total company sales, which they say is the highest rate in the restaurant industry outside of pizza. Digital sales are those ordered via mobile app, web, or in-cafe kiosk. Approximately 1.2 million digital orders are placed per week.

There are currently more than 2,000 bakery-cafes in 46 states and in Ontario, Canada.