Operations

Panera joins ezCater, adding to catering chops

The bakery-cafe chain is now available on the ezCater app in hundreds of markets as competition for bulk orders heats up.
Panera food catering
Workplaces now have another way to order catering from Panera. | Photo: Shutterstock

Panera Bread is joining catering marketplace ezCater, adding to its considerable catering capabilities as bulk orders continue to be an area of growth for restaurants. 

Nearly half of Panera’s more than 2,000 restaurants are now accepting orders through the ezCater app and website, and the chain plans to add hundreds more in the coming months, the two companies said Wednesday. Workplaces can use ezCater to place group orders from Panera and about 100,000 other restaurants. 

Panera has been one of ezCater’s most requested brands, said ezCater Chief Partnerships Officer Mike O’Hanlon. “Not only is Panera a market leader in fast casual, but they’re also a powerhouse in catering,” he said in a statement. “We’re excited to launch this partnership and continue expanding it in the months and years to come.”  

The St. Louis-based bakery-cafe brand has long been a leader in catering, and already offers the service via its own website and app, with options for events, virtual meetings and group ordering. Being part of ezCater should only expand its reach.

“An ideal complement to Panera’s existing catering service, ezCater adds additional reach and scale to expand to more businesses and take Panera Catering to the next level,” said Lisa Hamblet, Panera’s VP of off-premise, in a statement.

The partnership comes as both ezCater and Panera owner Panera Brands prepare for initial public offerings.

Catering has boomed coming out of the pandemic as workers return to offices and large gatherings resume. EzCater bookings grew 87% year over year in 2022, for instance, and more restaurants are adding the service as an option for the first time.

It is an attractive business for operators because large orders tend to be more profitable and can often be prepared during off hours or before stores even open.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.

Multimedia

Exclusive Content

Financing

In California, jobs are up, but traffic is down

The Bottom Line: Limited-service restaurants have not cut jobs in California, despite the $20 fast-food wage. But that doesn't mean it hasn't had an impact.

Technology

First-party catering emerges as a new frontier for restaurant tech

Tech Check: As catering booms, more tech companies are offering restaurants the tools to do it themselves.

Food

Applebee's upgrades chicken sandwiches with new techniques and flavors

Behind the Menu: VP of Culinary Shannon Johnson introduced hand breading, a larger chicken breast and craveable flavor profiles to elevate the platform.

Trending

More from our partners