Panera Bread Adds Grain-Based Bowl Category, Offers Two New Dishes

Daniela Kelly September 29, 2019
 Panera Bread Adds Grain-Based Bowl Category, Offers Two New Dishes

Panera Bread is adding a new category to its menu that includes two grain-based bowl dishes – Baja Grain Bowl and Mediterranean Grain Bowl. Both dishes will go beyond the dependence of sandwiches, soups and salads for its lunch and dinner menus.

It’s thought that these two dishes will be two of many to be added to the menu. In the testing stages are the teriyaki chicken and chicken pesto bowls.

According to restaurant officials, the four ingredients the bowls need could be catalysts for other menu items.

The bowls, which are going to be served hot, will handle various trends that are on restaurant owners and consumers’ minds. Consumers can choose to have the dishes with chicken or without it – in rising response to the desire for plant-forward dishes that also include healthy ingredients such as quinoa and Greek yogurt.

The ingredients used in these dishes fall in line with Panera’s policy to use clean ingredients only – ingredients that have not been tainted by preservatives, supplements or additives. According to Panera Chief Growth and Strategy Officer Dan Wegiel, the goal behind the company is to offer good food and good food for customers.

Expect to pay around $9 for both bowls without chicken and nearly $10 with chicken.

Wegiel said Panera has been working tirelessly for two years to create the bowls. The key was to create meals that could be delivered in special packaging that could handle the service. He said the bowls would also be offered for catering orders.

He said Panera sees a chance to become the leader in bowl sales, and although other chains like Sweetgreen and Dig also offer bowl meals, they do not have the amount of locations that Panera does.

The company currently has 2,300 locations across the nation.

For a limited time, the restaurant is testing out the chicken pesto and chicken teriyaki bowls, which are being rolled out to help boost both lunch dinner business.

Wegiel said there is more to the menu than just the two bowls currently offered. He said the grain bowls are Panera’s fourth menu category, which will get more recognition as time goes on as they’re part of the company’s dedication to proteins, plants and grains.

The ingredients of the Mediterranean bowl include hummus, gold and red quinoa, cilantro-lime long-grain brown rice, red grape tomatoes, fresh arugula, diced cucumbers, feta crumbles, lemon tahini dressing, Greek yogurt and touch of lemon. It can be served with or without the grilled citrus-pepper chicken.

The ingredients for the Baja bowl include quinoa, brown rice, black bean and corn salsa, red grape tomatoes, feta crumbles, Greek yogurt, salsa verde and fresh avocado that can be served with or without the grilled citrus-pepper chicken.

Panera VP of Wellness and Food Policy Sara Burnett said the long-grain brown rice, salsa verde, lemon tahini dressing and hummus are new additions to Panera’s ingredients list. According to Burnett, the chain has 400 ingredients to its pantry, which means it doesn’t have to often add new ingredients to the list to create new dishes.

Wegiel said several items were dropped from the boards to add the bowls. For now, the two bowls are the only options available and will remain so through December.