Everyone is getting in on the K-cup business: In addition to a line of soup single-serving pods, now Panera to create Panera Bread coffee-branded single-serving coffee pods.
The coffee cups were developed with Distant Lands Coffee, the coffee purveyor behind all Panera Bread cafés. Varieties include dark roast, light roast, Colombia, and hazelnut crème. Panera Bread coffee, for those who seriously love the brand's cup of joe, is also available as bagged ground coffee.
In addition to hitting the retail aisle, however, Panera Bread has reportedly come up with a four-step plan to fight slowing sales, including changing up the menu to eliminate "hard-to-produce" dishes and upping their catering factor. And despite its $2.9 billion sales in 2010, it seems the chain is struggling to maintain its grasp on the fast-casual market; Reuters found that sales only rose 1.7 percent at outposts open at least 18 months, compared to the analyst expectation of 2.7 percent. And with Starbucks' new La Boulange line, Panera Bread might be seeing more competitors in the near future.