Panera to streamline customer experience with technology
by Monica Watrous
ST. LOUIS – Rolling out from Panera Bread is a new technology platform that integrates digital ordering, payment and service.
Designed to streamline operations, Panera 2.0 offers advanced mobile ordering, tabletop ordering and “fast-lane” kiosks for dine-in and to-go ordering, in addition to cashier stations, to reduce wait time. The digital ordering process allows customers to store customized orders and credit card information for speedier service.
"Panera 2.0 is an investment in the customer enabled by technology and powered by operational excellence," said Ron Shaich, founder, chairman, and CEO. "It's more than a mobile-payment system or simply a digital-ordering process. It's an integrated, comprehensive, end-to-end solution that we believe will reduce friction such as wait times, improve order accuracy, and minimize or eliminate crowding — all while creating a platform for an ever more personalized experience."
Features also include new production equipment and systems, customer-facing order displays at checkout to improve accuracy and a comprehensive training program to improve operational efficiency.
To detangle dine-in and to-go traffic, Panera 2.0 cafes will have a designated to-go area with seating, an order status monitor that displays real-time progress on the preparation and completion, and shelf space for pick-up orders. Customers who dine in may have their meals delivered to the table with the use of an electronic table locator.
"Panera 2.0 is an integrated experience that meets the differentiated needs of 'to go' and 'eat in' customers, so they don't bump into each other," said Blaine Hurst, Panera's executive vice president of technology and transformation. "Panera 2.0 provides new mechanisms for ordering, payment, food production, and, ultimately, consumption. We took a totally integrated approach, and believe what we are providing is a truly enhanced guest experience."
Panera 2.0 has been implemented in two markets and 14 cafes, with plans for a system-wide rollout over the next three years.