When Free Becomes Frenzy

October 2021
By Stephanie Fallara

I recently received an email from Panera that offered “Free Coffee for 3 Months” - basically a promotion for their My Panera+ Coffee subscription program in which you pay $8.99/monthly and get “free” hot and/or iced coffee multiple times a day - every day (and any size!)

I put the word free in quotation marks because I took advantage of the three-month free trial offer and have likely spent more on breakfast and lunch at Panera in the last few weeks than I have my entire life.

Of course, this doesn’t come as that big of a surprise, but it really hits home how important loyalty programs are for brands. I decided to look into it, and 78% of surveyed consumers say loyalty programs make them more likely to do business with a particular brand, with these programs generating almost 20% of a company’s profits. Make that an at least 1% jump for Panera now that they have me in the mix.