design

Operations

Panera opens a pick-up-only store

The first Panera To Go, which opened on Chicago’s North Side last month, has no dining room. Two more digital-only locations are planned to open this year, the bakery-café chain said.

Operations

Sweetgreen plans to open an order-ahead drive-thru dubbed the ‘Sweetlane’

The drive-thrus resemble Chipotle Mexican Grill’s successful Chipotlanes and are part of Sweetgreen’s broader suburban strategy.

The fast-casual Italian beef and hot dog chain’s CEO said the newest prototype just might be “something very, very special.”

They’re adding drive-thrus, taking away dining rooms, letting customers order at the table and more; blurring the lines between their segment, quick service, and even casual dining.

The wing chain’s new “restaurant of the future” will allow the brand to test equipment and layouts to maximize its off-premise business.

The fast casual said Tuesday it has signed a 50-store deal with a franchisee, all of which are slated to include drive-thrus.

The better-burger brand is about 75% smaller than it was 15 years ago. But it is looking to get back into the new-restaurant business.

The pandemic pushed operators to unveil a flurry of new prototypes in 2021, codifying the changes in consumer behavior brought on by the crisis in updated designs.

Later this month, the fast casual plans to open its first Chipotlane Digital Kitchen with an order-ahead drive-thru and walk-up window but no indoor access for customers.

The 34-unit casual dining concept is finding solid sales with a smaller restaurant and new service model, giving franchisees another option, according to the founder and CEO.

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