Monday, January 28, 2013

Why Do They Make It So Difficult?

Slow-Carb Menu: Power Sustaining EnergySlow-Carb Menu: Power Sustaining Energy

Even before I stopped eating bread, I wasn't a huge fan of Panera Bread's food.  Sure, their bagels that are so popular seemed to be freshly made.  Their lunch and dinner menus just seemed to be pre-made and shipped from some warehouse.  They may not have been but that is how it seemed to me.  I literally have not eaten at one of those places in years.  

Panera has added some pretty decent options to their offereings.  I think one of two things have happened at the braintrust at Panera.  Someone in corporate realized the bread and pasta they are selling really isn't all that healthy.  Or they realized there is a growing population of consumers who have learned that bread and pasta is not the panacea of a healthy diet.  I strongly suspect it is the latter.  The low carb, paleo, Wheat Belly diets have cut into their bottom line and they needed to react to boost revenue.

The weird part is they are keeping quite about these new offerings:
"Panera's "off-the-menu" dishes offer nourishing options that make sticking to New Year's resolutions simple. All of these meal selections are an excellent source of protein and contain limited processed carbs. But you won't find these items on banners in our cafes, or even on the menu board.
Here's how you get the dishes -- just tell one of our associates that you're ordering from the "Hidden Menu", and they'll take care of it from there."
As I look at the new dishes, they appear to be pretty damn good options for a place with the word "bread" in it's name.  I suspect this is why they are being so secretive about it.  I think their marketing gurus know this is contradictory to the core of their business.   I wonder how this conversation went.  "Sure, we now have these great options but they are low margin.  We cannot distract our customer's from the high margin items that they are so addicted to.  Besides, we don't want people asking us questions about whether bread is healthy or not."  

Oh well, baby steps I guess.

CP

2 comments:

Aaron said...

Yeah, that is weird.

I think you're right ... they're trying to have something for that person that is low carb/GF that would otherwise keep 'their group' from even stepping foot in a place like that. That person probably wouldn't stop in alone, but if there is a least an option on the menu, then that opens it up.

Alex Peck said...

Good stuff. I had no idea, as I never go into Panera as their core business is counter to how I want to eat. Interesting though that mainstream food places are having to modify their menus, even if they are "secret".