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.