Retail

Panera Bread Kicks Digital Ordering Up A Notch

Engaging with consumers and boosting positive customer experience is something that's in constant motion for brick-and-mortar retailers and restaurateurs. Naturally, technology plays a big role in helping to shape consumer expectations and, as a result, businesses are responding by integrating digital touch points in a thoughtful manner.

This week, Panera Bread is upping the ante with its digital offerings. In addition to its mobile and in-store kiosks, the fast casual, quick-service restaurant (QSR) restaurant is making its consumers' lives just a bit more streamlined. People visiting approximately 50 percent of Panera's stores around the United States now have the capability of placing an order without walking up to the register counter.

Through this new offering, the chain has gone above and beyond the standard mobile order-ahead ahead via mobile app. Dubbed "Order From My Table," this new feature allows customers to digital order directly through the company's mobile app while sitting anywhere in the restaurant and Panera employees will bring their meals to their tables. By this time next year, ordering via mobile at one of the restaurant's tables will be available across all stores.

At retail eCommerce conference eTail East this past Monday (Aug. 14), Panera Bread's vice president of digital, Mark Berinato, commented on the restaurant's new offering and what it hopes to help achieve for the brand.

"For us, it's not about rolling out new technology services, it is about owning the customer experience," said Berinato. "We choose programs that solve a [customer] problem, and in the end, can maximize their experience with our brand."

Giving consumers more control over the way in which they interact with a brand is becoming an all too familiar scenario for companies worldwide. By integrating more digital aspects into the customer experience, businesses are enabling people to engage at their own pace — which may spark increased loyalty.

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The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.

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