Panera targets expansion in urban markets with its portfolio of new digital bakery-café formats


ST. LOUIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Panera Bread, a leader and innovator in the casual fast food segment, today announced the opening of its new urban store format in New York City, the latest of several new formats aimed at more densely-packed shopping areas. populated and non-traditional. With Panera’s digital sales now representing 50% of total system sales, Panera now offers a portfolio of store formats designed to meet the needs of an increasingly digital and offsite customer. With over 3 million average transactions each week from digital channels including app, kiosk and web, Panera customers continue to seek freshly prepared menu items with the convenience, personalization, speed and ease that the digital experience allows.

“At Panera, our innovation has always been rooted in the customer and associate experience, how we can reduce friction, drive convenience and bring Panera to new places where we know demand is high for freshly prepared meals. we serve,” said Eduardo. Luz, Brand and Concept Director, Panera Bread. “With a flexible portfolio of cafe designs, we are now able to bring Panera anywhere from suburban cafes with dual drive-thru, to a digital-only Panera To Go and everything in between.”

New digital-focused urban store formats debut in New York

The new Panera urban format combines a 40% smaller footprint than traditional bakery cafes with updated ordering kiosks, a fully digitized menu and a new tracking screen providing more detailed order status. Designed with only a limited amount of counter seating, most of the bakery-café is geared towards quick pick-ups.® experience, with dedicated shelves for pick-up and take-out orders. It is also the first Panera bakery-café in the country that fully incorporates the new world of the Panera brand, with modern and inviting new art, as well as updated design touches and color palette. The new urban format will continue to deliver the freshly prepared menu offerings and forward-thinking bakery experience that customers have come to expect from Panera.

After a successful test earlier this year, the first New York Panera To Go opens next month. Different from the new urban format, Panera To Go does not offer dining seating, only offering quick pick-up and delivery shelves where guests and delivery drivers can easily pick up orders. With fewer dine-in tasks and streamlined operations, Panera To Go associates can focus on preparing freshly prepared meals to meet the needs of an on-the-go customer. The two New York bakery cafes are the first of several new Panera bakery cafes set to expand into urban markets next year, as well as a series of non-traditional locations in settings such as hospitals and universities.

Improve guest and associate experience

Panera’s digital capabilities go beyond the bakery-café format, enabling a differentiated and personalized customer experience and reduced friction for bakery-café associates. For the customer, the company intentionally pushed technology beyond the point of purchase, from contactless dining options to a digitized order status board, to ordering and recommendation functions in the application. Future iterations of the new urban format plan to test new tap and go technology for an even more seamless experience for Unlimited Sip Club members. For associates, AI technology is used to automatically rearrange ingredients based on sales and labor scheduling, etc.

Panera continues to test AI technology in several areas of bakery-coffee. Earlier this year, it began testing Miso Robotics’ automated coffee-making system as it rolled out its Unlimited Sip Club membership program. More recently, Panera began testing OpenCity’s proprietary voice AI control technology, called “Tori”, for steering wheel controls, with the aim of maximizing efficiency and increasing control speed. Each AI test frees Panera associates to focus more on fulfilling orders and improving the customer experience.

Building on technology and digital heritage

After introducing free Wi-Fi to its bakery cafes, Panera in 2014 unveiled what the company then called “Panera 2.0” – an investment in the customer experience creating new ways to order and receive food , including an in-café kiosk, Rapid Pick-Up and other digital enhancements that have become the building blocks of Panera’s digital presence today. The Panera app is one of the top rated restaurant apps and MyPanera®, Panera’s loyalty program which began in 2010, has reached more than 50 million members. Last month, MyPanera introduced new choice-based rewards, allowing members to select their reward from multiple options based on personal preference, instead of just one pre-selected reward.

To learn more or to sign up for MyPanera, visit

About Panera Bread

Panera Bread opened in 1987 as a community bakery, founded with a secret leaven and the belief that sharing good bread is an expression of warmth and generosity. That vision holds true today with a robust menu of delicious recipes prepared by a chef created with one simple principle: The Familiar, Made Fantastic™. At Panera, we serve foods that we are proud to serve to our own families, made with responsibly raised protein and freshly prepared with clean ingredients – foods that are free of the artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavors and colors of artificial sources listed on our No-No list served in American coffee shops. From irresistible soups, salads and sandwiches to flatbread pizzas and sweets, we offer our customers more than just great food. Our spirit of generosity drives us to meet our customers where they are through technology and our shared values. We are stewards of our communities and the planet – with programs like Day-End Dough-Nation® which donates unsold evening baked goods to local nonprofits, or labels low-carbon, climate-friendly Cool Food Meals.

As of November 3, 2022, there were 2,114 bakery-cafés, businesses and franchises, in 48 states and Ontario, Canada, operating under the Panera Bread® or Saint Louis Bread Co.® names. Panera Bread is part of Panera Brands, one of the largest casual fast food companies in the United States, comprised of Panera Bread®Caribou Cafe® and Einstein Brothers.® Bagels. For more information, visit or find us on Twitter (@panerabread), Facebook ( Instagram (@panerabread) or TikTok (@panerabread).


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