Panera Bread announced Wednesday the expansion of its omnichannel network with the introduction of drive-thru pickup to all stores nationally. The feature allows customers to place an order ahead of time on the MyPanera app or website and then pick it up at the drive-thru window without having to leave their car – a capability that piggybacks off curbside pickup, which was introduced with geofencing technology in 2020.
“Panera pioneered the idea of digital ordering in the restaurant industry, and for years, our guests have loved the option to order ahead and pick their items up on the rapid pickup shelf,” Chris Correnti, senior vice president of channels and guest experience at Panera Bread, said in a statement. “Now we’re extending that convenience to the drive-thru, giving our guests another fast and convenient way to get their favorite Panera meal.”
Once customers place their order ahead of time, they can announce their name at the speaker and can just pull up to the drive-thru window where their order will be waiting for them—without the need to wait for a Panera employee to walk their order out to their car.
Over the past several years, Panera has cemented itself as a leader in omnichannel options and digital technology, and drive-thru pickup is just the latest example of this. Now, customers have the option of choosing to get their “You Pick Two” fix at the drive-thru, drive-thru pickup, in-store rapid pickup, curbside pickup, delivery or just by ordering at the counter the old-fashioned way (though even in-store, some customers can choose to use contactless Amazon One palm payment) – all in the name of creating a frictionless, convenient brand experience.
The strategy is working: According to Panera, digital orders represent more than half of all system sales, which averages out to about three million weekly digital transactions, and 2022 sales were up 12.3%, according to recent Top 500 data from NRN in partnership with Datassential. This omnichannel leadership will likely attract the eye of investors as Panera prepares to go public for the second time.
In celebration of drive-thru pickup, Panera is offering $5 off any order of $15 or more to rewards members that place an order through drive-thru pickup by using the code 5OFFDTPICKUP at checkout, available from June 1 through June 30.
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