Panera Bread Is Testing New Palm-Reading Payment Tech

Panera Bread is no stranger to new technology, having repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to try the latest versions — from digital ordering kiosks to mobile app features which allow customers to bypass lines. The most recent example of Panera's willingness to embrace new technology comes courtesy of a new partnership with Amazon. 

As TechCrunch reports, Panera has begun testing the palm scan payment technology that Amazon instituted for its Amazon One program in 2020, making it the first restaurant chain in the U.S. to do so. Panera is currently trying out Amazon's palm scan payment technology in only two locations in St. Louis, but the fast-casual chain may expand the use of the biometric technology to as many as 20 restaurants later this year. What makes this payment method even more innovative is that the palm scanners can link customers to Panera's loyalty program, MyPanera. This will create data for more customizable offerings for its 52 million participants, per CNBC.

The new payment method is a step toward efficiency

Once you enter the restaurant and go up to place your order, the palm scanners are located at checkout areas, where they can more efficiently facilitate purchases. Efficiency is a big part of the technology's appeal for Panera. The fast-casual chain's Chief Digital Officer, George Hanson, explains to CNBC, "We think the payment plus loyalty identification is the secret sauce that can unlock a really personalized, warm, and efficient experience for our guests in our cafés."

Enrollment in Amazon One is required to make use of the palm scan, as is MyPanera membership. Members can activate the payment option either in-store or through the mobile app. Panera may be the first restaurant chain to utilize Amazon One technology, but the system has been in use at Amazon stores and subsidiaries since 2021. These include supermarket chain Whole Foods, as well as Amazon Books and Amazon Go stores.