Panera will focus on digital customer experience, drive-thru with cafe-bakery design

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Panera Bread unveiled a new bakery-café design offering enhanced digital capabilities, personalized options and more drive-thru access, as well as a focus on the company’s artisan bakery experience.

“Innovation is at the heart of who we are and with our new next-generation Panera concept, we are doing what we have always done – keeping a personalized customer experience at the heart of everything we do,” says Eduardo Luz, Brand Manager and Design Agent, Panera Bread. “We are doubling down on what has always made Panera unique – creating human connection through caring associates and a warm, inviting environment filled with the smell of freshly baked bread – while continuing to be a leader in digital access for the offsite world.”

Panera plans to open its first next-generation bakery-café in November in Ballwin, Missouri. The new bakery-café will feature dual drive-thru with a dedicated fast-track pickup lane, contactless food and delivery service, updated ordering kiosks and automatic loyalty identification. Additionally, Panera says it will move its cooking ovens in view of customers so they can “fully immerse themselves in the cooking experience throughout the day.”

Next-generation bakery cafes will also introduce an updated Panera Bread logo and brand identity, unveiled in 2021. The updated Panera “Mother Bread” logo is a nod to the 30-plus-year sourdough starter of the company from which all of its sourdough bread is still made today, the company said.

Noting that customer comfort is “one of the main priorities of the new design”, Panera says that one of the main goals of the next-generation design has been to improve the customer journey and make it more intuitive. This includes rolling out clear and concise directions outside the café and improving the way the guest walks through the café after entering the front door.

Next-generation Panera Bakery Cafe is the latest update in a series of digital and menu innovations from the brand over the past year, including Panera Curbside, its $8.99 premium coffee subscription $/month plus taxes, as well as a new Flatbread Pizza Category.

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