Panera Drive-Thru Pickup Is Now Available Nationwide

Diners craving the fresh fare from Panera now have a faster way to get their food on the go. The company, which has 2,132 locations across the U.S., is rolling out a Drive-Thru Pick-Up option that combines the convenience of online-ordering and quick carry-out. Customers can place their order and pay using the Panera app or via the company website then retrieve their food via the drive-thru window by saying their name, per a press release.

The move is an effort to increase convenience and efficiency, says Chris Correnti, Panera's SVP of Channels and Guest Experience, who notes that the company was at the forefront of digital ordering. "Our guests have loved the option to order ahead and pick their items up on the Rapid Pick-Up shelf. Now we're extending that convenience to the drive-thru, giving our guests another fast and convenient way to get their favorite Panera meal."

To celebrate the roll-out, Panera is giving MyPanera members $5 off orders of $15 or more when they order via the Panera app and use the Drive-Thru Pick-Up option. The promotion runs June 1 until June 30.

Increasing speed and convenience

Drive-thru wait times have increased significantly over the past few years as more customers turned away from in-store ordering due to the pandemic and other factors. Panera's move, which uses its existing drive-thru lanes rather than new, custom-built ones as seen at other chains, stands to benefit customers and increase its drive-thru service speeds by moving several time-consuming steps into the digital realm.

Averaging 3 million transactions each week, a full 50% of the company's sales are digital, coming via the Panera app, website, or in-store kiosks. The demand for expanded convenience has seen the company offer a plethora of digital-driven sales and dining options. Those include the Rapid Pick-Up shelf, kiosks, and Contactless Dine-In. According to Restaurant Business, the restaurant also experimented with an urban store model with a smaller footprint that is almost exclusively focused on fulfilling digital orders.