US Restaurant Offers Monthly Subscription of Unlimited Coffee and Tea

Category: Business


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. kiosk / ˈki ɒsk / (n) – a small store

    We can buy food from kiosks in the mall.

  2. opt / ɒpt / (v) – to pick something over other choices

    I opted for payment-on-delivery because I don’t like paying online.

  3. entice / ɛnˈtaɪs / (v) – to attract or convince a person to do something

    That attractive poster enticed me to buy the new dress!

  4. keep an eye on (someone/something) / kip ən aɪ ɒn / (idiom) – to monitor or observe someone or something carefully

    I’ll just go to the restroom. Please keep an eye on my son for me.

  5. spice up / spaɪs ʌp / (idiom) – to make something more exciting or interesting

    You can spice up your presentation by adding pictures and videos.


Read the text below.

American bakeshop and restaurant chain Panera Bread becomes the first brand to offer subscription-based unlimited coffee and tea in the United States.

For $9 a month, members of Panera’s loyalty program can enjoy all-you-can-drink hot or iced beverages at all of the restaurant’s US locations. Although customers can order coffee or tea from the restaurant’s kiosks, they can also opt to use Panera’s mobile app and have their drinks delivered or ready for pick-up.

Before the subscription program’s official launch, Panera tested it at 150 stores across Ohio, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Panera CEO Niren Chaudhary reported that many subscribers visited these restaurants frequently and bought food along with their drinks. A lot of new customers were also enticed to sign up for the loyalty program. About 90% of the members extended their subscription for multiple months. Currently, more than 38 million customers have subscribed to Panera’s loyalty program.

To expand the current promo, Panera announced that more choices will be available to subscribers. Soon, it will also offer options like light- and dark-roast, decaf, hazelnut, and even almond milk.

The restaurant, which has more than 2,000 branches in the United States and Canada, is also encouraging customers to try its food, particularly its breakfast menu. Chaudhary said the company is keeping an eye on the food customers usually get with their beverages so that it could further spice up the subscription’s offerings in the future.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• In your opinion, is it a wise move for Panera to focus on its beverage products instead of its food products? Explain.
• Do you think an unlimited coffee and tea program like Panera’s will be patronized in your country? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• What unlimited product or service subscription is likely to be in demand in your country (e.g. unlimited massage)? Discuss.
• Do you think a lot of businesses are already catering to this demand? Why or why not?