I love Panera Bread. Everything on the menu is delicious, from the baked goods to the sandwiches to the soups and salads. One day while waiting for my breakfast order, I fell into conversation with the manager about the table of eight-or-so retirees who seemed to be in place every morning reading the paper and chatting among themselves.
“That must be great for business,” I said.
The manager smiled and said, “If only they’d buy more than a cup of coffee.”
Panera ain’t cheap, as a new study or corporate expense accounts demonstrates. The average tab at the “fast casual” sandwich shop was $39.52 — far and away the highest among frequently expensed chain restaurants. By comparison, the average tab at Starbuck’s was $11.55 and $8.75 at McDonalds. Even Chili’s and Applebee’s had lower average tickets than Panera.
That $39.52 sounds a little high to me. (The report doesn’t say how many meals were purchased on those Panera tickets.) But I can see how one person can easily drop nearly $20 on lunch at Panera. A plain ol’ turkey sandwich runs about $8.
Of course, you get what you pay for. Panera’s food is delicious and healthy – if you choose wisely – and it is a great place to meet friends or business associates. Just be mindful of the cost. Maybe someday you just get a cup of coffee, like those wise retirees at my Panera.
Cover Image: hbpictures / Shutterstock.com