America's Largest Bakery Cafe Chain Is Getting a New Look
Smaller restaurants and double the drive-thru lanes are just some of the major design changes you'll start seeing at America's largest bakery and cafe chain later this year. Panera announced its next-generation restaurant design last week, and from the looks of it, the company is betting on an "increasingly off-premise world" even with the pandemic in the rearview mirror.
Starting in November, the chain's newly opened locations will feature double drive-thru lanes. Besides the regular lane, another lane will be added solely for the Rapid Pick Up option—drive-thru orders placed ahead of time through the mobile app. In fact, customers will be able to place mobile orders for any service, including drive-thru, pickup, delivery, and even dine-in, for a fully contactless experience.
But Panera isn't giving up on their signature cozy interiors to keep customers coming in and dining on-premises. While its new locations will be about a fifth smaller in footprint, the interiors will put the chain's freshly baked goods front and center. The bakery ovens will now be in full view of the guests, so they can "immerse themselves in the experience of baking happening throughout the day." Previously, the chain's artisanal baking process took place overnight and was hidden from customers, while the new setup will turn baking into a daytime attraction for the guests to enjoy.
The new locations will also feature both indoor and outdoor seating, as well as updated ordering kiosks with automatic loyalty identification, which will enable customers to see a personalized version of the menu highlighting their favorite and recently ordered items.
The first restaurant featuring the redesign will open in November in Ballwin, Mo., near Panera's St. Louis headquarters. According to Panera's chief brand and concept officer Eduardo Luz, all new restaurants will feature this design going forward, and most will be located in suburban areas to accommodate the new bigger drive-thrus. However, the bakery revamp will be retrofitted at some older locations, too.
"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," Luz said in a press release.
For more on design changes you'll see at your favorite fast-food chains, check out:
- 5 Popular Fast Food Restaurants That You Won't Even Recognize
- Taco Bell Just Opened a Futuristic New Location In This Major City
- The One Change You May Notice at McDonald's Drive-Thru
And don't forget to sign up for our newsletter to get the latest restaurant news delivered straight to your inbox.
More content from Restaurants
- – The 9 Best Restaurant Chains To Visit For Happy Hour
- – Starbucks' New Digital Tipping System Slammed by Customers and Baristas Alike
- – 9 Healthiest Fast-Food Breakfasts, According to Dietitians
- – 5 Fast-Food Add-Ons That Are Never Worth Your Money, According to Experts
- – 41-Year-Old Pizza Chain Bertucci's Goes Bankrupt For the Second Time
- – Outback Is Giving Away Free Bloomin' Onions, Thanks To a New Netflix Murder Mystery
- – Would You Spend $65 on One Pizza? Cici's Thinks Its New "Piezilla" Is Worth It
- – 5 Fast-Food Chains That Use Fresh-Cut Potatoes for Their Fries