Panera Bread is a fast food concept which aspires to provide its customer base with fresh, high-quality food in a comfortable and friendly setting. Among its competitors are restaurant like McDonald’s, Subway, Arby’s, and Starbucks. Each of these other restaurants holds a more significant market share in the fast food industry, particularly McDonald’s and Starbucks. McDonald’s alone holds close to 40 % of the fast food industry. (Stillman, 2003) Although Starbucks can be considered as more of a café, they do offer drive-thru service as well as food items. Often, these food items are microwaved. Similarly, food items at other fast food establishments are also prepared in such a way as to provide timely service to the customer.
Pat strategies have essentially stayed the same among all competitors. Often, the mediums that are used to advertise their products are television, billboards, radio, internet, and social media. In the past, timeliness and accuracy were priorities in delivering products to customers. Nowadays, many fast food establishments are looking into revitalizing their image through cleanliness and high-quality foods that are served fresh. One thing that McDonald’s does that Panera bread has tried is establishing charities and running fundraisers. A Panera Bread Concept in Missouri has recently tried this same concept, integrating it into the payment system of a particular restaurant. (Horovitz, 2010)

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Subway and Starbucks specialize in delivering fresh products that can be prepared in front of the customer, but lack a variety in their specialty products (sandwiches and coffee). On the other hand, Arby’s and McDonald’s specialize in maintaining a variety of dishes on their menu, although their preparation methods and order accuracy are not always the most adequate in the eyes of the consumer. To a certain extent, all of these establishments are lacking in quality to some degree, thus necessitating the revitalization of higher standards in terms of food quality and presentation.

Although fast food is not a necessary industry, it is one whose future can be predicted by the rise of each restaurants profits as well as the rate in which they are growing. Certain menu items spark more consumer interest than others, thus providing these establishments with ideas on how to shape their menu to meet the needs of their customers. These businesses are affected by the “quality-concept” restaurants that have been showing up more frequently, particularly in this decade. These include Panera Bread, Five Guys, Jersey Mike’s subs, and others. Panera Bread is one of the many casual dining concepts that has inspired the recent increase in product quality throughout the food industry. (Powers & Hess, 2003)

Many people consume fast food on a regular basis. The market is limitless, with many other restaurants opening up their own local chains. As such, their tastes are becoming more refined. In a sense, the product concept in and of itself is not that unique. Fast food has been around for decades, and food preparation is timeless. However, delivering food that comes timely, is reasonably priced, and s of adequate quality is becoming a new concept. Rather, it is becoming one which is revived, thus causing certain corporate establishments to gain an advantage in the market. If other corporate chains follow this trend, the potential for market share growth is very great. Competitors are already figuring this out, and are modifying their products in such a way as to satisfy their customers more. Panera bread increased its market share by 51 % in 2003, thus indicating that this concept has special potential in the fast food industry. Keep in mind that this was 14 years ago, years before many corporate fast food chains began making the switch to higher quality.

  • Horovitz, B. (2010, May 17). Non-profit Panera cafe: Take what you need, pay what you can. USA Today.
  • Powers, C. H., & Hess, M. A. (2003). A message to the restaurant industry: It’s time to “step up to the plate”. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 103(9), 1136-1138. doi:10.1016/s0002-8223(03)01082-4
  • Stillman, T. (2003). Introduction: McDonald’s in Question: The Limits of the Mass Market. American Behavioral Scientist, 47(2), 107-118. doi:10.1177/0002764203256178