KANSAS CITY — Two Panera Bread locations in the Kansas City area have added beer and wine to the menu, with three more to follow in the coming weeks. The introduction of Panera Tonight: Beer, Wine & Dine coincides with the debut of three flatbread pizzas on the bakery-cafe chain's menu nationwide.
Panera has partnered with popular beverage makers for the pilot program. Kansas City-based Boulevard Brewing Co. and Napa Valley’s Ménage à Trois Wines will be on the menu with beer, wine and sparkling seltzer options during evening hours. Offerings include Boulevard’s Pale Ale, Unfiltered Wheat Beer and Quirk Spiked & Sparkling Strawberry Lemon & Basil seltzer from Boulevard Brewing Co. and Ménage à Trois’ Red Blend, Gold Chardonnay and Limelight Pinot Grigio.
Pan American Group, a subsidiary of Flynn Restaurant Group LP, which owns 135 Panera Bread stores, is launching the program.
“We are delighted to expand our evening offerings to customers through partnerships with Boulevard Brewing Co. and Ménage à Trois Wines,” says Rebecca Diefendorf, marketing manager for Pan American Group. “Panera offers delicious food all day long. Now you can start your morning with coffee and bagel and end the day with wine and a flatbread pizza. It doesn’t get better than that.”
Panera Bread's new flatbread pizzas feature extra finely ground flour for a delicate yet crisp crust, topped with hearty ingredients, including fresh mozzarella and fresh cilantro and basil. The pizzas are available for $7.99 in three varieties: cheese, Margherita and chipotle chicken and bacon. Eduardo Luz, chief brand and concept officer at Panera, said the company anticipates pizza will become a strong anchor for Panera’s growing dinner business. Pre-COVID, Panera had started to invest in the dinner business, a daypart that without much historical dedication had represented more than 30% of the company's sales, he said.