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Panera expands Unlimited Sip Club to include all self serve coffee, tea, lemonade and soft drink options

By MixDex Article may include affiliate links

Panera Bread has announced that its Unlimited Sip Club membership will expand to include its entire line of self-service beverages.

Plans for updates to the program, formerly known as MyPanera+ Coffee, were first announced in early April 2022, but the chain did not immediately announce what would change.

However, it did say that the price would grow from $8.99 a month to $10.99 a month, though current subscribers get a break on that price.

Starting April 19, 2022, the club now includes the chain’s new “charged” lemonades, iced and hot coffee, iced and hot tea, lemonades and Pepsi fountain beverages.

Iced teas, lemonades and soft drinks were not previously included.

The “charged” lemonade inclusion is notable because these items have a slightly higher menu price, but some customers had reported seeing signage advertising the line of caffeinated drinks with the Unlimited Sip Club logo on it, which didn’t make sense at the time because the club previously only included unlimited hot and iced coffee and hot tea.

Existing subscribers will still be charged the $8.99 per month rate through the end of 2022 but will start paying the higher rate for the first renewal that hits in 2023.

To celebrate the expanded program, Panera is advertising that new subscribers can enroll in the program for free until July 4, 2022, which is roughly in line with the three free months it was offering new signups prior to the expansion.

The program still does not include lattes, cold brew iced coffee, espresso or cappuccino beverages or flavor syrups or shots. Essentially, if it has to be made behind the counter or with an ingredient kept behind the counter, it’s not included.

The cold brew exclusion is likely to be disappointing to some, but also understandable to some degree because it’s a bit more expensive to produce and also sometimes is only available in limited quantities due to its longer brewing process.

Also sticking around in the two-hour requirement between new drink redemptions. Customers are still eligible for unlimited refills if they remain in the store, however.

This means that customers can’t grab both a coffee and soda to drink later on the way to work, though they could swing back around lunchtime for a free soft drink assuming those two hours have passed.

There is a workaround for this — some families subscribe to the program with two separate accounts using two different phone numbers. This still does require them to pay the monthly fee twice, but it can still be worth it for beverage fanatics.

The change arguably brings better value to the program for only $2 more a month and also could encourage multiple visits per day and thus increasing the chances a subscriber will buy something else.

For the average customer getting just one coffee on each weekday, the program is a steal — it essentially pays for itself in the first week or so each month, depending on local pricing.

All told, the change also likely makes it easier for Panera to explain the program and its advantages — basically saying if you can get the drink yourself, it’s included.

There’s probably also a decent chance that customers had already been dipping, as it where, from other non-included drinks anyway, so the change makes that “legal.”