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First ‘Panera To Go’ digital restaurant opens

Panera Bread debuts ‘Panera To Go’ in Chicago – a new, digital-only restaurant format, working with Rapid Pick-Up® and delivery. This is the first of three Panera To Go test locations scheduled to open this year. The digital bakery-café has a reduced storefront, for guests and delivery drivers to pick up orders from Rapid Pick-Up® and Delivery shelves. Panera To Go is designed for densely populated areas that cannot accommodate a dine-in bakery-café. It does not offer any seating, as it is exclusively designed for consumers on the go. Panera plans to open two additional Panera To Go cafes in California and Washington D.C. this year.

Recently, the brand has been testing ghost kitchens, with five currently operational and more planned to open this year. 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 themselves. Ordering and payment for Panera To Go orders are only available on Panera’s digital channels via web or on the Panera app.

As of the end of 2021, 81% of Panera’s sales were via one of Panera’s off-premise channels including Delivery, Rapid Pick-Up®, Drive-Thru and Catering, the company said in an announcement.

“We strive to make it easy for our guests to access Panera’s chef-curated menu, in the most convenient way. 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. “We are excited to launch into more trade areas, where we know people are craving for what Panera offers—freshly prepared delicious dishes, crafted by our chefs and bakers, using clean ingredients.”

“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. “We are already leaders in providing our guests with an exceptional digital experience and adapted our digital channels to provide our guests even more options in the Panera To Go format.”

Graphic: Business Wire