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Panera loyalty program approaches 10M members

Panera Bread Co.’s year-old customer loyalty program is nearing 10 million members, and more than two-fifths of all café transactions link to the cards, the company’s founder said this week.

Ron Shaich, founder and executive chairman of the 1,500-unit bakery-café chain, told CNBC’s “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer that the “MyPanera” loyalty program, which launched nationwide in November 2010, has grown from 9.5 million members a month ago.

Watch Panera on “Mad Money;” story continues below

“We’re pushing closer to 10 million,” Shaich told Cramer in an interview at Panera’s first New York City restaurant, which opened recently. “The real value of that loyalty program is, one, it surprises and delights guests, but as well it’s the information.”

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With between 40 and 45 percent of all transactions logged onto the loyalty cards, “We are able to track individually what people do. Since we are able to track that, we’re actually able to market to you in a way that’s unique to you,” Shaich said.

That furthers the customer’s engagement with the St. Louis, Mo.-based brand, he added.

Shaich is also appearing in Panera’s first national cable television ad campaign.
“I’m not the pitch man,” he said. “I’m given the chance to speak about why we created this.”

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected].
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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