Radical Approach to Promotion Could Stall Sales

Panera Bread launched six new items to its menu board. These new items mark a turn for the fast casual retailer from carbohydrate-laden fare to protein-rich offerings. However, the only form of promotion is through Panera's social media outlets. E.B. Solomont provides the money process:

The St. Louis-based company isn’t promoting the menu in store and you won’t find any mention of it on menu boards at Panera’s bakery-cafes. Customers in the know just have to tell a Panera associate that they want to order off the hidden menu.

This effort is so many ways dumb it staggers the mind.

I eat out for lunch or dinner roughly twice a week. In my decision making process, I never consider any place that offers carbohydrate-soaked menu offerings. Instead, I focus only on the few places where protein rules the day. That is, I never think of Panera as a place to eat and, thus, do not follow Panera on any social media platform.

Yet, I am the target market for Panera's six new menu items. The company created six items just for me. Yet, I did not know it existed until I received an email blast that included the link to the Solomont's retyped press release.

Given the lack of awareness of the menu items and the difficulty of ordering the items, Panera's sales volume goal should be somewhere in the triple digits for the first six months after the launch date. It remains doubtful that Panera would achieve superior financial performance with this allocation of its promotion-related resources.