12 Ways to Save Money at Panera Bread

Ways to save money at Panera Bread
Panera Bread is a popular fast food establishment enjoyed by many people across the country. With a wide array of soups, salads, sandwiches, and pastries, it’s no wonder they have a large customer base. While it may be a fan favorite, it’s also known for being a little pricey. Here are some different ways to save money the next time you visit your local Panera Bread:

MyPanera Rewards Card

Like many restaurants or businesses, Panera Bread offers a customer loyalty card which comes with many rewards you can earn over the course of your visits to their stores. There is no cost to sign up for the MyPanera card, and you’ll be rewarded with a free item upon registration. Additionally, the card offers various free items throughout the year, as well as for your birthday. It will also occasionally update you about special deals and promotions happening at your local store.

MyPanera Rewards Card Hack

You can earn more rewards using your Panera rewards card by separately ordering your purchases. The reward card gives rewards depending on the number of purchases you make, but doesn’t void purchases made on the same day. So, if you buy five breads all at once, that counts as a single purchase toward your next reward. If you buy those five breads separately, however, you earn five purchases toward the next reward. For those who want to earn rewards faster (and the discounts that come with them), splitting purchases can help you earn them much more quickly.

Special Deal Days

Panera does have special deal days, such as getting 12 bagels for $6.99 every Tuesday. Sometimes their deal days are for such things as $1 off a beverage or other similar items. Deal days depend on your local participating store and may vary from location to location, but it’s always a good idea to check their website or social media accounts to see what discounts may be taking place.

Follow Their Social Media Accounts for Promotions

If you’re an avid social media user, you should consider following, or at least routinely checking, Panera Bread’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. Social media sites are a great way to keep up to date on what businesses are doing, especially when it comes to new menu items, special discounts, or promotions that are happening. You never know what new or useful information you may find.

Gift Cards on Secondary Market

If you dine at their restaurants, or just go in to buy bread on a regular basis, it can be worthwhile buying a Panera gift card on a secondary market such as eBay. The can often be found for 10% to 20% off the face value of the card which means 10% – 20% savings to you. If you’re going to spend the money there anyway, why not get a little extra bang for your buck.

Know The Menu

One of the best ways to save money at Panera is to know the menu. Sometimes the “double” deals they have are actually more expensive than if you had ordered the two items separately (and sometimes the opposite is true as well). Also make sure that you know what “secret” menu items you can order, since these can be cheaper than the items stated on the menu. When in doubt, just ask the cashier about the secret menu options. But, all in all, it’s important that you actually know the menu and take a few seconds to calculate whether your “deal” is actually worth the money.

Avoid Desserts

Desserts are always so tempting to buy, especially when they’re on display in such a tantalizing manner. Panera may be loved for some of its pastries and desserts, but if you’re trying to save money, you should avoid ordering them. One cookie is around $2.00, and that’s $2.00 you don’t really need to be spending, especially when you can make a homemade batch with dozens of cookies for a little bit more. While the desserts may look delicious, you can save some money by leaving them off your order.

Get Free Water Instead of Buying a Drink

Similar to avoiding desserts, buying a drink is something to be avoided not only because it’s expensive, but also because you don’t really need to buy a drink. Panera will give you a cup for water free of charge if you ask for it, so there’s really no reason to be spending money on a soda, iced coffee, or smoothie. Just make sure you’re not one of those people who use the free water cup for soft drinks.

Don’t Order Sides

In most fast food or takeout places, adding sides to your order will only make it more expensive. There’s a cost for cream cheese for your bagel or salad dressing for your salad. Panera has an entire section of their menu devoted to sides, and even though the most expensive may be no more than a few dollars, it’s still smart to avoid ordering sides if you’re looking to save money.

Split Your Meal with Someone

Another great way to save money at Panera is to split your meal with a friend, coworker, or family member. Panera has a lot of deals that let you combine soups, salads, and sandwiches for under $10. If you’re grabbing a quick bite to eat, think about ordering with a friend and splitting the cost.

Don’t Order More Than You Need

Of course, one of the best ways to save money at Panera is to not order more than you need. Do you really need a whole sandwich instead of a half, along with a salad? Or do you really need a bread bowl instead of a regular bowl of soup? While these additions may only cost a few dollars here or there, those few dollars will add up over time. So, the next time you order at Panera, rethink your choices to determine whether or not you actually need (or want) all that food you’re ordering.


Panera Bread is one of the few businesses in the fast food industry that does not have regularly recurring coupons. Since coupons are so rare, finding some is like hitting a goldmine. Coupons may appear in your local Sunday paper or on various coupon related websites online.

(Photo courtesy of samantha celera)

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4 Responses to 12 Ways to Save Money at Panera Bread

  1. Will says:

    My favorite thing to do is study the menu before I go. That way I can make my informed decision before I’m rushed through one of those crazy ordering lines! Being rushed is bad for good money decisions!

  2. Scott says:

    this article is so terrible. half of these aren’t true at a corporate Panera. this is no charge for dressing on salads. it’s not cheaper to by any two pick two items separate either.

  3. April says:

    I love LOVE Panera’s food. But for me, eating there is a splurge.

  4. April says:

    PS. Thanks for the tip about discount gift cards. Will look into it.

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