- Panera has partnered with Google to allow customers to search for and order food online for curbside pickup or delivery through Google Search, Maps and Assistant at participating bakery-cafes, according to a press release.
- To order from Google Search and Maps, customers search for "Panera near me" and are given the option of ordering curbside pickup or delivery. Using Google Assistant, a customer using an Assistant-enabled Android or iOS phone can say "Hey Google, find Panera near me" to look up nearby Panera locations and from there place an order. Guests can use contactless payments, including Google Pay, to complete their orders.
- Guests who order Panera through Google will receive 20% off their first delivery or curbside pickup order of $20 or more through Sept. 14.
Since last year, Panera has been expanding beyond its own in-house channels to reach more customers. In August 2019, the company, which has traditionally used its own in-house delivery model, partnered with DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats to offer delivery for lunch and dinner orders. The company also added rapid reorder to its app and website to allow customers to reorder their favorite options for pickup or delivery as a way to create a breakfast habit.
But no innovation may be more habit forming than its coffee subscription program, which launched in February. As of July, the program had over 750,000 members, according to an email sent to Restaurant Dive. The program was also a way to appeal to consumers’ growing demand for frictionless experiences.
The need to provide more frictionless experiences only intensified with the novel coronavirus pandemic. In May, the chain launched Panera Curbside, which uses geofencing to allow cafes to be notified when a customer arrives to pick up their orders. In early August, guests using their Apple Cards with Apple Pay on Panera's app, website or at registers began receiving unlimited 3% daily cash back. The company previously added Sign In with Apple to its iOS app in May, allowing for customers to sign in with their Apple ID.
With Google enhancing the user experience by adding features like filters that show which restaurants offer takeout and delivery and partnering with companies like Olo to allow customers to order directly from Google, adding this feature is a logical next step for Panera. With over one-third of adults ordering food online or through a restaurant app due to COVID-19 in April, bulking up online order capabilities will only help Panera expand its reach.