In-Car Ordering Presents Major Drive-Thru Opportunity for Coffee Shops

coffee cup being handed to driver

As consumers for increasingly frictionless ways to order the foods and beverages they want, PYMNTS Intelligence finds that there is significant demand to integrate AI-assisted in-car ordering into coffee drinkers’ daily routines.

By the Numbers

According to PYMNTS Intelligence’s report “How Connected Devices Enable Multitasking Among Digital-First Consumers,” which draws from a July survey of more than 4,600 U.S. consumers, many coffee drinkers want their cars to auto-populate their go-to orders and have it ready for purchase when they would typically buy it.

Specifically, 34% of connected device users reported that they would be very or extremely interest in having their car or smartphone recognize their commute and ask them if they would like to pick up coffee on their way to their destination, such that, if they said yes, their regular coffee order would be automatically ordered and paid for, scheduled for pickup at the most convenient coffee shop.

The Data in Action

One major bakery-café chain in particular is taking advantage of this opportunity. Fast-casual giant Panera Bread, which has more than 2,100 locations, began a partnership with Apple’s CarPlay last year to enable ordering from the Panera app through vehicles’ dashboards.

Additionally, the chain announced a one-swipe ordering feature last month, dubbed “Crunch Time Ordering,” which enables consumers to preload their go-to orders in the brand’s app and schedule the times when they will need this quicker option. Then, they can place the order at those designated times with a single swipe in the restaurant’s app.

“Our guests lead busy lives and need convenience more than ever,” Panera Senior Vice President, Chief Digital Officer Meenakshi Nagarajan said in a press release.

If more coffee shops can find ways to integrate the ordering experience into consumers’ daily commutes in ways that remove effort for the customer, they have the chance to drive loyalty and sales.

chart, how consumers want to shop with connected devices