Operations

Panera guests can now pick up digital orders via drive-thru

When ordering online or through the app, consumers can select Drive-Thru Pick-Up, so they don't have to leave their cars.
Panera Drive-Thru
For some, those who order ahead can pick up more quickly through the drive-thru./Photo courtesy of Panera Bread.

Panera Bread added one more layer of convenience to digital ordering with the national rollout of drive-thru pickup.

The chain on Wednesday said guests can now order and pay ahead on the app or online and select Drive-Thru Pick-Up as their pickup option. Once they arrive at the restaurant, they can pull into the drive-thru, give their name at the first window, pick up their food at the next, and be on their way.

The move makes it easier for those who don’t want to get out of their car to pick up food, which is a small convenience that can mean a lot to families with small children, for example. But those guests must still share the drive-thru lane with traditional users, who might prefer to order in the drive-thru lane and slow down the process.

Finding the right balance for the drive-thru lane is an issue many restaurant chains are struggling with. Velvet Taco, for example, had created drive-thru lanes designed only for digital order pickup, but recently revamped the drive-thru experience to allow guests the option of ordering in the drive-thru lane because that's what they wanted.

Panera says about 50% of sales now comes through digital channels—or more than 3 million transactions a week on average across the 2,121-unit chain—including the app, website and kiosks.

“Panera pioneered the idea of digital ordering in the restaurant industry, and for years, our guests have loved the option to order ahead and pick their items up on the Rapid Pick-Up shelf,” said Chris Correnti, Panera’s senior vice president, channels and guest experience, in a statement. “Now we’re extending that convenience to the drive-thru, giving our guests another fast and convenient way to get their favorite Panera meal.”

MyPanera members can get $5 off any order of $15 or more from June 1-30 when they order Drive-Thru Pick-Up by using the code 5OFFDTPICKUP.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.

Multimedia

Exclusive Content

Technology

4 things we learned in a wild week for restaurant tech

Tech Check: If you blinked, you may have missed three funding rounds, two acquisitions, a “never-before-seen” new product and a bold executive poaching. Let’s get caught up.

Financing

High restaurant menu prices mean high customer expectations

The Bottom Line: Diners are paying high prices to eat out at all kinds of restaurants these days. And they’re picking winners and losers.

Financing

Podcast transcript: Puttshack CEO Joe Vrankin

A Deeper Dive: The chief executive of the minigolf-centric restaurant chain discusses how the chain focuses on higher-quality games and food.

Trending

More from our partners