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Panera Bread Opens Next-Generation Bakery-Cafe

Panera’s new next-generation bakery-cafe doubles down on drive-thru while enhancing dine-in experience and digital guest experience.
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Panera opened the first bakery-cafe featuring its next-generation restaurant design that emphasizes off-premises.

Located in Ballwin, Mo., the new restaurant marks the debut of the double-lane drive-thru, with one lane specifically for the brand’s signature Rapid Pick-Up service. Coupled with enhanced digital, personalized options,  the new restaurant design also features a modern and revitalized dine-in experience around its signature fireplace.

The new Panera location features new digital innovations including contactless dine-in and delivery, updated ordering kiosks, automatic loyalty identification, and a fully digitized menu both in-cafe and in drive-thru.

Contactless Ordering,  a new offering at Panera, will allow guests who choose a fully contactless experience to easily order their meal from their own phone for dine-in, Rapid Pick-up, drive-thru or delivery. Once the order is made, guests are notified via mobile notifications when their food is ready, minimalizing interaction with cashiers, kiosks, paper receipts or pagers. In fact, 38% of diners surveyed cite the ability to pay for food via their mobile device as very important when selecting a restaurant, according to HT's 2021 Customer Engagement Technology Study. 

“We undertook the development of the next generation Panera bakery-cafe with a relentless focus on guest experience,” said Rob Sopkin, SVP, Chief Development Officer, Panera Bread. “Every step of the guest journey was scrutinized to find ways to make it more intuitive and convenient, and the result represents the very best of our design and development teams that we are proud to open today.”

As a result the new design deploys clear and concise wayfinding on the exterior of the cafe and refines how the guest routes through the cafe after entering the front door, to optimizing the ordering and pick-up experience.

The next generation bakery also marks the debut of an updated Panera Bread logo and brand identity.  

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