The brand’s new, next-gen design concept brings its in-store bakery ovens to the middle of the store and out in the open so customers can see and experience the baking going on throughout the day. Panera is also adding more drive-thru access as its demand for pickup and online orders have surged, as well as enhanced digital capabilities. The new store design will be outfitted at a location in Bellwin, Missouri, near Panera’s St. Louis headquarters.
Panera, which is owned by restaurant conglomerate JAB Holding, has 2,118 locations in 48 states and in Ontario, Canada, operating under the Panera Bread or Saint Louis Bread Co banners.
ChangeUp, a retail brand experience agency, helped Panera with the next-gen design. The store will feature a double lane drive-thru, with one lane dedicated to “Rapid Pick-Up” service. The new digital enhancements include contactless dine-in and delivery services, updated ordering kiosks, automatic loyalty identification and a fully digitized menu both in-cafe and in drive-thru, Chain Store Age reported.
Customers can order their meals from their phone for dine-in, pick-up, drive-thru or delivery. Mobile notifications will alert customers when their food is ready, making service essentially contactless. In the rollout of the new store concept, Panera is debuting a new “Mother Bread” logo that references that company’s 30-year old sourdough bread starter that is still used today.
“Innovation is core to who we are and with our new next-generation Panera concept, we are doing what we've always done – keeping a personalized experience for the guest at the heart of everything we do," said Eduardo Luz, chief brand and concept officer, Panera Bread. "We're doubling down on what has always made Panera unique--creating human connection through caring associates and a warm, inviting environment filled with the smell of freshly-baked bread--while continuing to be a leader in digital access for the off-premise world."