Au Bon Pain snackifies its menu

Au Bon Pain downsizes entrees to build between-meal business.
balsamic chicken au bon pain

“Sales of our Petit Plates have doubled in the year since we introduced the snacks, and they continue to grow,” says Katherine See, VP of culinary innovation at Au Bon Pain. “Plus, sales are consistent throughout the day. Breakfast and lunch customers often buy one to have for a midmorning or midafternoon snack, and other guests come in between meals just to purchase these items.” When See set out to amp up Au Bon Pain’s snack menu this fall, she used a go-to R&D strategy for snack items—cutting calories—on one of the bakery-cafe’s top-selling lunch items: the Chicken Margherita sandwich. The revamp—a Balsamic Chicken Petit Plate with chicken, mozzarella, bruschetta, basil and a balsamic drizzle—weighs in at 200 calories, shaving 400 calories off the sandwich by eliminating bread and decreasing ingredient portions to meet customer demand for a quick, protein-rich snack. 

Balsamic Chicken Petit Plate

Sandwiches and salads are made to order at Au Bon Pain, but for all-day availability, the Petit Plates are premade and displayed in a refrigerated case. Presentation paired with information are important tools in marketing the snacks, says See. Instead of piling ingredients in standard to-go packaging, Au Bon Pain uses clear plastic covers on small disposable plates.  The chain lists calories on the package as well as on point-of-purchase signage. 

Smart swaps

Instead of...Try this...
Ciabatta breadNo bread
4 oz. chicken2 oz. chicken
3 oz. mozzarella1 1/2 oz. mozzarella
2 oz. bruschetta1/2 oz. bruschetta


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