Panera Bread has announced the opening of its updated urban store format in New York, the latest of several new formats aimed at more densely populated and non-traditional shopping areas. With the bakery-café chain’s digital sales now accounting for 50% of its total system sales, Panera now offers a portfolio of store formats designed to meet the needs of an increasingly digital and offsite customer.
With over 3 million average transactions each week from digital channels including app, kiosk and web, Panera seeks to deliver freshly prepared menu items with convenience, personalization, speed and ease. increased as the digital experience allows.
“At Panera, our innovation has always been rooted in the customer and associate experience, how we can reduce friction, drive convenience and bring Panera to new places where we know demand is high for freshly prepared meals. that we serve,” says Eduardo. Luz, Brand and Concept Manager, Panera Bread. “With a flexible portfolio of cafe designs, we are now able to bring Panera anywhere from suburban cafes with dual drive-thru, to a digital-only Panera To Go and everything in between.”
The new Panera urban format combines a 40% smaller footprint than traditional bakery cafes with updated ordering kiosks, a fully digitized menu and a new tracking screen providing more detailed order status. Designed with limited counter seating, most of the store is geared towards a streamlined pick-up experience, with dedicated shelves for take-out and pick-up orders. It’s also the first Panera bakery cafe in the country that fully embraces the new world of the Panera brand, with modern and inviting new art, plus updated design touches and color palette.
After a successful test earlier this year, the first New York Panera To Go opens in December. Different from the new urban format, Panera To Go does not offer dining seating, only offering quick pick-up and delivery shelves where guests and delivery drivers can easily pick up orders. With fewer dine-in tasks and streamlined operations, Panera To Go associates can focus on preparing freshly prepared meals to meet the needs of an on-the-go customer. The two New York bakery cafes are the first of several new Panera bakery cafes set to expand into urban markets next year, as well as a series of non-traditional locations in settings such as hospitals and universities.
Future iterations of the new urban format plan to test new tap and go technology for an even more seamless experience for Unlimited Sip Club members. For associates, AI technology is used to automatically rearrange ingredients based on sales and labor scheduling, etc.
Panera continues to test AI technology in several areas of the bakery-café. Earlier this year, it began testing Miso Robotics’ automated coffee-making system as it rolled out its Unlimited Sip Club membership program. More recently, Panera began testing OpenCity’s proprietary voice AI control technology, called “Tori”, for steering wheel controls, with the aim of maximizing efficiency and increasing control speed.