Restaurant Business has chosen Panera Bread Company as the Tech Accelerator of the Year, the restaurant industry’s top technology award.
The Tech Accelerator honor is bestowed by the publication’s editors on a chain that has expanded the boundaries of how technology is used in-store. Panera has set a new benchmark with its rollout of Panera 2.0, a comprehensive tech package that extends from a mobile app to self-ordering kiosks.
“Panera 2.0 has become a bellwether for the industry,” says Kelly Killian, group editor of foodservice for Winsight Media, the publisher of Restaurant Business and FoodService Director magazines.
“Its integrated, technology-driven approach has helped make ‘frictionless’ service a pillar of the fast-casual experience, resetting customers’ expectations around speed of service and producing enviable results in sales and utilization.”
Panera was selected from a group of finalists that also included Buffalo Wild Wings and HMS Host, the airport and travel-center concessionaire. The three, in turn, were selected from a field that included 200 emerging and national chains.
The Tech Accelerator of the Year was named at FSTEC, a conference for senior and mid-level restaurant executives involved in the selection and deployment of restaurant tech.