Panera Bread is gearing up to launch delivery of small orders at nine of its 12 Dayton-area cafés and at other locations nationwide.
The casual chain is using signs inside and outside some of its restaurants, including the café at 1203 Brown St. near the University of Dayton, to recruit delivery drivers.
A spokeswoman for Covelli Enterprises, the Warren, Ohio-based franchisee for Dayton-area Panera stores, said her company is preparing to roll out small-order delivery to the Dayton market by June 6, depending on the ability to attract a sufficient number of drivers.
“We hope to reach new customers but also offer this really convenient service to existing loyal customers who cannot make it to the bakery café,” Sam Covelli, CEO and owner of Covelli Enterprises, said today in a release. The Covelli spokeswoman said delivery test markets saw an increase in sales, “so we are truly reaching customers who wouldn’t normally choose Panera.”
Panera locations that will be delivering include the UD location in Dayton, as well as multiple locations in Beavercreek, Miller Lane, the Dayton Mall area, Centerville, Sugarcreek Twp., Huber Heights and Austin Landing, Covelli officials said. The three locations that will NOT be launching delivery will be Kettering (Town & Country), Springfield and Troy. The Englewood Panera that is still under construction will offer delivery eventually, but not right away. Nationwide, delivery will be rolled out in about 10 percent of Panera’s locations in 2016.
Here’s how Panera’s delivery system will work, according to a Covelli spokeswoman:
• The minimum order cost that qualifies for delivery is $5.
• Orders are taken online and paid for by credit card at the time the order is placed.
• There is a $3 delivery fee per order.
• Hours of delivery service are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., meaning that the first delivery order can be placed at 10:30 a.m. and the last at 7:30 p.m.
• Each cafe will hire on average 10 delivery drivers, whose primary responsibility will be delivering orders, but who will be expected to perform non-delivery duties in the restaurant while not driving.
• Applicants can apply at panerabread.jobs or on Twitter @covellijobs. Group-interview sessions will be held at the Holiday Inn in Fairborn on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m.
In the company’s 2015 annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission 10 days ago, Panera officials said, “Delivery was a hot topic in 2015, as restaurant brands rushed to stake a claim in the market. But while many companies view delivery as a modest play for those few customers seeking the ultimate in convenience without regard to price, we see it as a mass-market opportunity with high sales potential.
“Since we view delivery differently, we are also tackling it differently. We have been testing delivery for several years now and plan to roll it out to most of our cafes over time – not just introduce it in a few select geographies. Our testing has confirmed that sandwiches and salads are highly desirable foods that travel well, and that the e-commerce and operational capabilities we’ve already built make delivery relatively easy to add into our café work streams.”
Company officials said they expect to roll out delivery to 200 to 300 company and franchise cafes. Although the initiative will carry some up-front costs in training and marketing, “Longer term, we believe delivery can significantly contribute to both sales and profit growth,” they said in the company’s annual report.