Panera Opens First Digital-Only Restaurant

Panera Bread has opened the first “Panera To Go,” a new restaurant format offering digitally-enabled convenience for Rapid Pick-Up and Delivery orders. Panera To Go is a digital-only bakery-cafe, with a reduced front of house where guests and delivery drivers can pick up orders from Rapid Pick-Up and Delivery shelves. The new format is designed for densely populated areas that cannot accommodate a dine-in space.

With less front-of-house duties and simplified operations, Panera To Go associates are solely focused on meeting the needs of a guest on-the-go. The company is also evaluating adding Kiosk and Catering orders to the new format. The intention of Panera To Go bakery-cafes is to service all dayparts including breakfast, as applicable.

“Panera To Go creates yet another access point for our guests, via Rapid Pick-Up® or Delivery, in locations where Panera has not historically operated,” said Eduardo Luz, Chief Brand & Concept Officer, Panera Bread.
The company has continually innovated to add new access points in response to the growing demand for off-premise dining, including drive-thru access, Rapid Pick-Up and curbside delivery. The new Panera Next-Gen bakery-cafe model rolling out nationwide features a dual drive-thru with a dedicated Rapid Pick-Up lane among other digitally-powered elements.

Recently, the brand has been actively testing ghost kitchens. The Panera To Go concept differs from ghost kitchens in that the new format offers a branded front-of-house experience where guests can pick up digital orders on their own. Ordering and payment for Panera To Go orders are only available on Panera’s digital channels via web or on the Panera app.

“Panera To Go is another way we can make our guests’ lives easier through digital convenience, which is always at the heart of what we do,” said George Hanson, Chief Digital Officer, Panera Bread.
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