Panera Bread tests voice ordering for off-premise

Panera Bread is taking a page from a number of its limited-service competitors by testing voice ordering as a way for diners to place orders for pickup and delivery. As part of a partnership with Google, the fast casual is offering customers in St. Louis as well as Silicon Valley the option to order by voice command on some smartphones.

During the ordering process, a Panera app through the Google Assistant platform will display the chain’s menu and recommend items based on a customer’s ordering history, according to Panera.

“With more than 1.3 million digital orders placed a week at Panera, there is a clear demand for voice-activated ordering methods, and this integration with Google is a step towards an even better guest experience,” Panera CEO Ron Shaich said in a statement.

The fast casual aims to roll out the feature nationwide by the end of the year.

Domino’s added voice ordering to its Anyware ordering platform early in 2016, though it had launched a voice ordering method for the first time around two years prior. Chains such as Starbucks, Pizza Hut and Wingstop have also leaned into voice ordering.

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