Panera Bread Testing Mobile Ordering
Panera Bread is expanding its technological operations to provide more convenient ordering options for its customers. Diners at the fast casual chain will soon have the option to place their orders on their phones or iPads and have them brought to the table, or order through independent kiosks located in the establishment.
The new system, dubbed Panera 2.0, will give diners multiple opportunities to order sandwiches, scones and other goodies without ever approaching the register. They can avoid lines and pay for their orders with their credit cards through the mobile app, website or kiosk. Stores equipped with the ordering kiosks will feature special areas for picking up to-go orders.
“Customers can just go and sit down after ordering, avoiding the mosh pit all together. This higher-quality experience differentiates Panera from fast food, and even much of fast-casual,” Ronald M. Shaich, executive chairman and chief executive of Panera Bread, said on a quarterly earnings call.
The St. Louis-based company has already run test conversions in the Boston and Charlotte areas, and plans to launch a major expansion in the fall to the 23 locations in Dallas. The new technology will increase credit card fees and technology expenses for the company, but they hope to offset that with new customers who will come in for the convenience.