The coffee subscription idea originated from Panera Bread. Pret A Manger and Panera are both owned by JAB Holding, and according to The New York Times, the CEOs of JAB Holding companies have a WhatsApp chat to discuss ideas.
Customers don’t need the coffee subscription to take advantage of Panera’s expanded free Wi-Fi, though. The indoor dining area at Panera has long been equipped with free Internet access, but the chain recently expanded its coverage as social distancing continues. The Wi-Fi now reaches the parking lot and curbside pick-up area.
Then the pandemic hit. Workers stopped commuting to the office (and leaving their homes in general), and the only thing that was actually disrupted was business as usual.
Starting March 2, the bakery-café will serve unlimited coffee across its nearly 2,200 locations for those who sign up for the company’s free loyalty program and pay the $8.99 monthly subscription fee, plus tax. The promotion offers one cup of hot drip coffee, hot tea or iced coffee every two hours during regular Panera hours, in addition to free refills of the same drink at other locations.
• The US branded coffee shop market grew by 5.7%