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Panera hopes to drive traffic with expanded Wi-Fi

The chain is encouraging customers to take advantage of its parking lot internet access while enjoying an unlimited coffee subscription.
Panera curbside wifi
Photo courtesy of Panera

Panera Bread is trying to lure customers with a timely enticement that is neither food nor drink:

Extended Wi-Fi.

The fast-casual chain is targeting parents who are juggling working from home while their kids attend virtual school.

“As one of the first restaurants to offer free Wi-Fi, Panera has now extended its Wi-Fi radius beyond the bakery-cafe doors, so people can pick up coffee for Curbside pick-up and catch the break that parents so desperately need,” Panera said in a new release.

Panera is giving away a month of free Wi-Fi to the first 2,020 people who sign up for the chain’s unlimited coffee subscription, starting Thursday.

The chain is also giving away a free baked good to those who sign up for a coffee subscription through the end of the week.

"Kids are going back to school in-person and virtually across the country, and once again parents are taking on more work and stress than ever before," said Eduardo Luz, Panera’s chief brand and concept officer, in a statement. "Panera's free, unlimited, premium coffee can help get you through the day, and the added bonus of Panera's Wi-Fi-enabled parking lots and Curbside pick-up can give you a few minutes to recharge and a quick meal solution.”

Panera launched its coffee subscription program in March, right at the outset of the pandemic. By July, the chain said it had signed up more than three-quarters of a million people for the $8.99-a-month unlimited coffee subscription.

Since the program’s debut, Panera has provided frequent enticements to sign up, including a refer-a-friend program and free coffee for those who registered earlier in the summer.

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