America's Largest Bakery Chain Is Testing This Game-Changing Feature
Panera, one of the country's leaders in freshly baked goods, coffee drinks, and quick-service dining, is continuing to upgrade its brand.
In November, the St. Louis-based bakery chain unveiled a new restaurant prototype featuring cozier interiors, a more robust drive-thru, and a surplus of contactless technology. Now, Panera is joining several other chains by teaming up with AI company Miso Robotics to step up its coffee game.
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To ensure its coffee is always hot and ready, Panera will be testing out a partnership with Miso Robotics' CookRight Coffee Technology at two of its locations. Using artificial intelligence, the CookRight Coffee system will monitor key metrics for the chain's popular beverage, including volume, temperature, brewing time, and customer demand.
While the technology doesn't automate any steps of the production process, it will initially alert employees via a tablet located in the back of the house, "but will eventually connect directly with Panera's POS," George Hanson, Panera's Chief Digital Officer, told Restaurant Dive in an email. The overall goal of the system is to help Panera employees gauge when to brew a new batch of coffee without needing to manually check the coffee urns throughout the day.
"Panera has a long history of tech innovation in service of meeting the needs of our guests and associates when they walk through our doors each day," George Hanson, SVP and Chief Digital Officer of Panera, said in a statement. "CookRight Coffee is a game changer when it comes to convenience and operational efficiency, and we are extremely excited to take our coffee station into the future with Miso Robotics."
Panera is the latest restaurant chain to join forces with Miso Robotics. Last month, Chipotle announced that the brand partnered with the AI company to test "Chippy"—a tortilla cooking robot. Prior to this, White Castle deployed Miso Robotics' burger-flipping robot "Flippy," while Buffalo Wild Wings piloted its robotic chicken wing fryer "Flippy Wings."