Panera Bets Big on Delivery Technology

In a press release announcing the company's Q1 2017 Financial Results, Panera Bread Co.'s Chairman and CEO Ron Shaich discussed how the company "bet" on digital, loyalty and delivery during the last five years and how those bets have paid off.
"Outside the big three pizza players, Panera is leading the industry in digital, with 26% of sales now digital," Shaich said. "Our loyalty program is the largest in the industry at 25 million members with half our transactions through the program. And our omni-channel approach leads the industry, with delivery now available in 24% of the system and catering sales growing 11%.
Panera has big plans for delivery, in particular. It announced in an earlier press release that it expects to add more than 10,000 new in-cafe and delivery driver jobs system-wide by the end of 2017 as it expands delivery service to 35-40 percent of its cafes by year end.
“Panera is doing for delivery what we did for quick service – creating an elevated guest experience end-to-end,” Shaich said. “In many places across the country, all that’s available for delivery is pizza or Chinese food. We’re closing the gap in delivery alternatives and creating a way for people to have more options for real food delivered to their homes and workplaces.”
Since its introduction in early 2015, Panera Delivery has won over new and longtime customers who love the seamless integration with Panera’s digital and mobile payment platforms, as well as with the company’s loyalty program – MyPanera. By linking delivery orders with MyPanera, the restaurant industry’s largest program with more than 25 million members, guests are able to save their favorites, earn and track rewards, and receive one-of-a-kind special offers.
The new digital and mobile ordering-based service, Panera Delivery, will provide lunch and dinner to offices, hospitals, campuses and homes, typically within an eight-minute drive of a Panera bakery-cafe. Cafes will generally deliver between the hours of 11 a.m. and 8 p.m., seven days a week, for as little as a $5 menu purchase plus a $3 delivery fee in most locations. In addition, Panera is currently rolling out a new order tracking system, powered by Bringg technology, which lets the guest track their delivery order all the way to their home or office. The guest can see expected arrival time, follow the delivery’s progress on a map, see a picture of and be introduced to their driver, and receive a notification when their driver is arriving.
To bring the delivery experience to life, Panera is hiring its own drivers in company-owned and franchised markets across the country. These in-house drivers, with daytime hours and competitive wages, are bringing a new level of enthusiasm and delight to customers accustomed to a more traditional delivery experience.
“For the first time, Panera Delivery is making it possible for us to hand deliver our great food directly to people where they work and live,” said Blaine Hurst, president, Panera Bread. “For us, hiring our own drivers was the only way we could ensure that our delivery guests get the same high quality experience they have come to expect from our bakery cafes.”
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