Panera Bread is changing its baking schedule so that its stores actually smell like bread, reports Sarah Nassauer in The Wall Street Journal (5/23/14). "In a place called ‘Panera Bread’ you are kind of hoping to get the aroma of bread," says Tom Gumpel, the chain’s head baker. Accordingly, Panera "plans to reassign the baking staff at most of its roughly 1,800 locations from night to day shifts so the stores smell like a bakery when customers are there."
Panera customers also "will be able to watch baked goods being made, chat with bakers and grab some warm pastry samples." Cinnabon has long played a similar game, placing "ovens near the front of its stores so the enticing smell of warm cinnamon rolls escapes when oven doors open … The bakeries are intentionally located in malls or airports, not outside, so smells can linger … Cinnamon rolls are baked at least every 30 minutes. Some store operators heat additional sheets of brown sugar and cinnamon to keep the aroma in the air."
Aromas can, of course, waft both ways. Cinnabon stumbled while testing the ‘Pizzabon’ because "garlic and onion" overpower cinnamon and sugar. Its breakfast sandwiches, featuring maple syrup and cheddar, work just fine, however. Starbucks "stopped selling breakfast sandwiches for six months in 2008" because the smell of "cheese engulfed the coffee aroma." Some non-food retailers embrace signature scents as well, although American Apparel has a no-aroma policy, focusing instead on the "visual store experience.