How To Eat At Panera Bread For Cheap (Or Free) (2024)

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Being frugal with your money does not mean that you are stingy; it merely shows that you are money smart. And one of the areas many are finding that they have to cut back on is dining out. But what fun is that? Everyone wants to have a chance to go out and have fun from time to time, and who does not enjoy Panera Bread’s incredible salads, soups, and sandwiches?


Key Takeaways

  • Gift cards can be obtained from websites like Swagbucks, which you can use at your favorite Panera Bread. The franchise also has its loyalty app where you will be able to accumulate rewards that you can use more than one of at a time.
  • If you have signed up for the Panera Bread app, you will be informed about specials and promotions, which you ought to take advantage of as often as possible. Additionally, when you first sign up, you will receive a free pastry or sweet treat.
  • Unfortunately, there are not many ways to eat at Panera Bread or other restaurants for next to nothing. However, you can take advantage of certain things, such as purchasing the smallest of a given drink and then having free refills or heading to them on bagel Tuesday.

Ways One Can Eat At Panera Bread For Cheap Or Even Free

You may be struggling financially or are simply realizing that you need to be more careful with how you spend your money during these uncertain times. However, that does not mean you do not want to take the family out for a delicious meal or your partner out for a lunch or dinner date.

What you will find in this post are ways of escaping some of the added expenses you may typically incur. You still want to be able to go out and enjoy yourselves, but these tips and tricks will at least come in handy with regards to the figures that finally show up on the bill at the end.

A few of these ideas are excellent little additions to note and be aware of when you head to Panera Bread again, but others could come in handy and save you a great deal of money. So if you hope to find tips on saving where and when possible at Panera Bread, this is the article for you.

1. Use A Free Panera Bread Gift Card From Swagbucks

If you have yet to hear of them, Swagbucks is a much-needed addition to your saving of things. You earn points by purchasing things online, watching videos, and filling out surveys, leading to great deals and redeemable points. With Swagbucks, you will need to sign up and then continue doing things you are probably already doing, along with a few extras.


What you will then do is redeem your points for gift cards, and one of these includes the chance to receive gift cards to use at Panera Bread. Swagbucks is widely considered the top online company where one can receive rewards, and they have great reviews, so if you hope to save money at Panera Bread or similar restaurants, consider signing up and start earning.

2. Earn Free Food And Get A Free Pastry Or Sweet Treat

If you are a serious lover of Panera Bread, you must sign up for their MyPanera rewards program. When you sign up, you will be treated with either a free pastry or a sweet treat, which is your welcome reward and is supposedly valid for about two months (but do check to make sure, as you do not want to pass up this freebie.

However, note that you must be at least 13 years or older to sign up for the app, which is, amazingly, free of charge. When earning your rewards, be sure to find out whether this is still their policy on the matter, but Panera Bread used to typically reward you based on the number of purchases you make, not the total value of your purchase.

If you forget to scan your app when you register, you can scan your receipt after the fact and still earn points, so there is no reason to panic. Another plus to the app is that it allows you to accumulate rewards and then use a few at a time, so you could save a great deal on future orders.

3. Apart From Certain Drinks, Order The Small And Get Refills

Besides drinks such as Panera Bread’s smoothies, iced green tea, lemonade, and hot drinks such as hot chocolate and made-to-order espresso drinks, all their other beverages come with free refills. Just be sure to double-check with your waitron, but in most cases, it will make far more economic sense to order the small and pay less for your drink.

Yes, you will likely drink it a lot faster than a large, but with endless refills, whether coming down from the week with a nice cup of warm tea or are fueling up on caffeine for an all-nighter, it is wiser to opt for the small. This way, you do not waste money on purchasing a larger size, and at the same time, you get to enjoy the endless amounts of smaller cups.


4. Purchase Gift Cards On Discount Sites

If you and your family frequent Panera Bread, something apart from Swagbucks that you may be interested in investigating is discount gift card sites. One of them in question is Gift Card Granny, and they will not lead to you obtaining free gift cards, but it is a marketplace where people sell their gift cards at a discounted rate.

This means that you will ultimately pay for a fair portion of the gift card as supply-and-demand economics come into play. Still, you will find that some people are willing to give up their Panera Bread gift cards at a reduced price, and although it will not be a massive save, it is a seamless process of transfer that will help you save a few dollars.

5. Add Free Toppings To Your Sandwich

When you are at any restaurant, whether Panera Bread or any other, you are spending your hard-earned money, and quite reasonably, you want to get the absolute most for what you are paying. Therefore, we recommend you take full advantage of what is available. One of the ways you can do this is by adding as many free toppings as you possibly can onto your sandwich.

There are typically many things that are included, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, greens, red onions, and some flavorful additions such as frizzled onions, pickled red onions, cilantro, and basil. Be aware that certain toppings do come at a cost. Be sure to look on your nearest Panera Bread’s website or ask your waitron what free toppings are available for your sandwich.

6. Search Online For Panera Bread Coupon Codes

If you happen to be ordering from Panera Bread online, then you have a trump card up your sleeve, and that is to do an internet search to find valid Panera Bread coupon codes. You can then use these codes to sometimes get as much as 30% off of your order; that is a massive potential saving that, if you did not know otherwise, you could seriously lose out on.

Coupon codes are not always around, and sometimes the ones you find online have expired, so it is crucial to stay ahead of things and keep a beady eye on what is new and fresh off the press. This takes some finesse, but once you have mastered the art of discovering valuable coupons, you will be pleased that you put in the effort.

7. Take Advantage Of The Panera Bread Bagel Tuesday

Panera Bread is known for its spectacular bagels; on a Tuesday, you get the opportunity to capitalize on that. If you are a big fan of their bagels, you must head over and stop by Panera Bread for their Tuesday special. This is known as the “baker’s dozen,” and you will typically get 13 bagels (yes, that is more than a dozen).


What’s even more amazing about this deal is that you get roughly 30% off what you would usually be charged for this order. Additionally, if you would like to, you can order a tub of cream cheese to take home with your bagels. The cream cheese will last for a lengthy period in the fridge, and if you cannot consume all the bagels, you can keep them frozen until you are ready to indulge again.

8. Forego The Bottled Water And Get Free Filtered Ice Water

Sometimes all we want is a plain and simple bottle of water; however, this could add as much as $2 to your bill. Instead, there is a hack to the system, where you can replace the bottled water and merely ask your waitron for free ice water instead. This is not the most exciting of drinks to have with your meal, but it is undoubtedly a money-saver.

What you can do instead is if you want something else to drink, then purchase it at the store and keep it in a cooler in your car, which you can enjoy after the meal, and you will not have to worry about the ridiculous markups that restaurants place on their drinks.

9. You Can Substitute Meat For Avocado On Your Sandwich

You are in luck if you are vegetarian or vegan or merely feel like a meatless sandwich. You do not have to accumulate the higher prices that often come with these options, and where you will have to pay extra to add avocado, instead what you can do is order a regular meat sandwich and then ask them to substitute the meat.

You can replace the meat on your sandwich with avocado, and you will not incur additional charges. This is an excellent win for many and a trick you may not have been aware of before, but now you are and can take complete advantage of that tiny little loophole.

10. Sometimes Buying More Makes The Whole Deal Cheaper

One thing that people love to flock to Panera Bread for is their amazingly delicious pastries and deserts, and these can range from as little as a buck all the way to close to five dollars. However, if you know this next little trick we will reveal, you can make the most of your outing to Panera Bread.

If you order a meal and choose to buy a drink with it, which is what we often already do, there is a little secret: the five dollars you would have needed to spend now drops all the way down to $0.99. So not only do you get to have your cake and eat it too, but the total cost at the end is significantly smaller than it may have been, and you have scored yourself a great deal.

We have offered you ten of the top tips and hacks that you can utilize to slash the price of your meals and allow you to enjoy them without worrying as much about what the total bill will come to. Instead, you get to enjoy your time out with friends, family, or a partner and simply enjoy your food and their company. However, there may still be lingering questions so see below.

What Is The Cheapest Item On The Panera Bread Menu?

The cheapest items on the Panera Bread menu are likely to be a bagel and coffee, which is enough to constitute a light breakfast for a mid-morning refresher. The cheapest coffee would be an espresso at roughly $1.69 and a bagel, with any spread, for $2.35. So you are looking at below $5 at most Panera Bread restaurants.


Does Panera Bread Give You Anything For Your Birthday?

You must sign up for the Panera Bread loyalty program and download their app. You will need to enter your birth date when you sign up, and each year, when that day comes around, you will receive a reward from Panera Bread. Double check with them, but most of the time, you will not have to redeem it on your birthday but within at least a couple of weeks.

Does Panera Bread Bake Fresh Bread?

The franchise employs thousands of bakers; each year, these remarkable and unsung individuals make millions of bagels and baguettes. Their bread is as fresh as it comes in terms of fast-service standards. They do not make their bread from scratch daily; however, every night, they have fresh dough delivered, and the next morning and throughout the day, they bake it.

How To Eat At Panera Bread For Cheap (Or Free) (2024)
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