Panera Bread selling groceries amid coronavirus outbreak

Business

HUNTINGTON STATION, NEW YORK – MARCH 26: A Panera Bread sign is seen at the Walt Whitman Mall on March 26, 2020 in Huntington Station, New York. Across the country schools, businesses and places of work have either been shut down or are restricting hours of operation as health officials try to slow the spread of COVID-19. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Panera Bread is selling grocery items to customers who may want to avoid big box retailers during the coronavirus pandemic. The move comes after CEO Niren Chaudhary announced the chain had seen sales drop about 50% since dining rooms across the country were forced to close.

Launched on Monday, customers now have the option to order bread, bagels, milk, yogurt, cream cheese and fresh produce. Items may be purchased through Panera’s app, via its website or through Grubhub and are available for delivery or pick-up.

Baton Rouge has one free-standing Panera location at 7877 Jefferson Hwy. Two smaller eateries are located within Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and in Taylor Hall on LSU’s campus.

The decision to sell groceries is intended to help build back a revenue stream now deplete of demand, according to Chaudhary.

Panera is a privately held company, owned by the same parent company JAB Holding, which also owns Krispy Kreme. Specific financial information was not released.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.