Panera Is Testing New High-Tech Stores For Customers On-The-Go

From soups to sandwiches and bread bowls to flatbreads, Panera Bread has many options. The chain restaurant often features a rotating seasonal menu to deliver the freshest food to its customers. The company even prides itself on clean, nutritious food with a menu that has been free from artificial ingredients since 2017 (per Delish). The restaurant chain also offers a variety of dietary restriction-friendly foods, including keto, vegetarian, and paleo options.

Panera continuously worked to make ordering more convenient for customers over the years. Panera states it began offering delivery in 2016, with only a $3 delivery fee and optional tip. In the years following delivery introduction, it has also expanded its convenience options. Business Wire reports that in 2020, the restaurant chain launched its Panera Curbside pickup option, and, as of 2021, 44% of all Panera restaurants had a drive-through.

Now, Panera is launching a new restaurant model in order to help customers get their food more quickly in high-traffic areas.

These stores are pick up or delivery only

Panera To-Go locations will only accept digital orders, Business Wire reports. Customers will need to place their food and drink orders for delivery or pickup either online on the company's website or through its mobile app. Business Wire also reports that Panera may look into adding ordering kiosks in the future. Panera first introduced kiosks in 2016 (via Kiosk Marketplace), allowing customers to rapidly place orders inside the restaurant without having to talk to a cashier.

Since there isn't a dine-in option at Panera To-Go locations, employees will be able to focus solely on fulfilling pickup and delivery orders for quicker service. These new locations will be smaller than a traditional Panera, reports Forbes, in a 2,500 square foot space will be taken up mostly by the kitchen. There will also be space for customers to pick up their orders from the location's pickup shelves.

One Panera To-Go location is currently open in Chicago, with additional locations planned for Southern California and Washington D.C. later this year, reports Forbes.