To enable safe, easy delivery of meals straight to the cars of its diners, Panera Bread has unveiled its Panera Curbside geofence-enabled service. The quick-service restaurant (QSR) chain has expanded its Wi-Fi coverage beyond its doors so that when guests who have opted into the service drive up, Panera will receive automatic notifications that they have arrived, according to an announcement.
Diners can select their meals and order from Panera Curbside via the company’s app or website. They enter the make, color and model of their vehicles in the “special instructions” section. When customers arrive in the parking lot, the company will deliver their orders to their vehicles. Individuals who don’t opt into the automatic notification can tap “I’m here” in the order confirmation email or MyPanera app when they arrive.
Panera CEO Niren Chaudhary said in the announcement, “In these unprecedented times, people are missing life’s small comforts, like going out for a meal with family. While we prioritize safety and convenience, we hope that Panera Curbside can be a natural extension of the Panera warmth inside our bakery-cafes.”
Chaudhary continued, “In the new world as it emerges, we are focused on how we can best serve our customers and meet them where they are. Our latest technology and Wi-Fi capabilities, combined with enhanced protective measures at bakery-cafes, make Panera Curbside a frictionless way to continue to enjoy the Panera experience you know and love.”
Panera also noted that further safety steps are being taken to open up certain locations with a “to-go” model. Those include plexiglass barrier installations as well as dive-thrus and thermometers to allow for “pre-shift wellness checks.”
The news comes as Panera has entered the eCommerce grocery business. The service will provide what it refers to as “high-demand” items such as bread, milk and fresh produce, as well as standard menu items like salads, sandwiches or soups.
The company integrated the grocery function into its MyPanera rewards program, as it did with its coffee subscription that was unveiled in February.