Panera Bread launches contactless dine-in across US stores

US food-to-go and coffee chain launches contactless dining in-store as part of an ongoing focus on digital transactions following the pandemic

A Panera Bread store in Philadelphia, USA | Photo credit: via Shutterstock

Panera Bread is doubling down on its digital strategy, launching a new contactless dine-in feature across its US stores. The new service enables dine-in customers to order food and beverages for table service via the Panera Mobile App, negating the need for queuing or using shared devices to order.
In a press release, the company said it had accelerated the roll-out of the feature in response to increased consumer demand for seamless transactions, adding that contactless dine-in was now available across most of its 2,100+ US stores. 
“Panera is constantly innovating our technology to respond to the ever-shifting needs of our guests, and contactless dine-in is a great example; in fact, we sped up the national rollout to  provide a solution for today’s guest concerns,” said George Hanson, SVP, Chief Digital Officer, Panera Bread.
“Now, guests can avoid lines or shared devices and simply order from a quiet corner of the bakery-café. With options like curbside, RPU, drive-thru and now contactless dine-in, our guests can order in a way that best suits their needs,” Hanson added.
Contactless dine-in is the latest strategy deployed by Panera Bread in response to shifting consumer behaviour since the pandemic.
In April 2021, the JAB Holding-controlled company said it would focus on digitally enabled
takeaway, delivery, and drive-thru, after revealing that e-commerce accounted for around $2bn of sales. Moreover, the proportion of customers opting for takeaway or delivery had risen from 40% pre-pandemic to 85%, with delivery growth at 150%, the company added.
The following July, the food-to-go and coffee chain launched Panera Connects, a catering delivery service for remote work meeting attendees.
Panera Bread’s new in-store feature echoes a similar seamless store format introduced by Starbucks in November 2021, which saw the Seattle-based coffee chain partner with Amazon Go to facilitate seamless digital transactions at a Pickup store in New York.

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