Panera opened its first bakery-cafe featuring a “modern and revitalized dine-in experience around its signature fireplace coupled with enhanced digital, personalized options, and dual drive-thru access,” the company detailed. The new restaurant in Ballwin, Missouri, includes updates such as:
· Craft bakery experience – freshly baked bread and bakery items in full view of the guests. Panera has moved the ovens so that visitors can fully immerse themselves in the experience of baking happening throughout the day.
· Dual-drive thru with dedicated Rapid Pick-Up® lane – the new concept features a double-lane drive-thru, with one lane specifically for the brand’s signature Rapid Pick-Up service.
· Enhanced digital experience –the new concept will feature 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 – this new service 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, reducing interaction with cashiers, kiosks, paper receipts or pagers.
· Refreshed brand identity – the new bakery introduces an updated Panera Bread logo and brand identity. The refreshed Panera ‘Mother Bread’ logo is a nod to Panera Bread’s more than 30-year-old sourdough starter from which all of its sourdough bread is still made today.
· Intuitive guest journey – the new design deploys clear and concise wayfinding on the exterior of the cafe and refines how the guest passes through the cafe after entering the front door, while optimizing the ordering and pick-up experience.
“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.”
Panera worked with ChangeUp brand design agency to design the new restaurant concept. “Our new bakery-cafe is designed with the best of what makes Panera unique – a warm, inviting environment that delights our guests, and the smell of freshly baked bread coupled with tech-enabled convenience,” said Eduardo Luz, chief brand and concept officer, Panera Bread. “We’re proud to launch this new design just outside of our hometown of St. Louis; in fact, we couldn’t think of a better place to showcase our vision for the future than the place where we started.”
As of September 28, 2021, there were 2,120 bakery-cafes in 48 U.S. states, Washington, DC, and Ontario, Canada, operating under the Panera Bread or Saint Louis Bread Co. names.