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.
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