Panera Bread expands delivery service; applauds digital for Q1 growth

Panera Bread will be extending its delivery program to customers with its own drivers.  Pic: Panera

Panera Bread is hiring its own drivers to expand its delivery service to 30%-40% of its cafés by the end of 2017, as digital sales make up 26% of its Q1 2017 sales.

Panera Delivery, the company’s delivery program, is currently available in 24% of its cafés, and is expected to add 10,000 jobs in the US after the expansion.

Delivering directly to customers

Panera Bread introduced its digital and mobile ordering-based service in 2015 to provide lunch and dinner to offices, hospitals, campuses and homes, typically within an eight-minute drive of a Panera bakery-café.

“[Panera] cafés will deliver between the hours of 11am and 8pm, seven days a week, for a $3 delivery fee in most locations,” the company said.

“Hiring our own drivers [is] the only way we [can] ensure that our delivery guests get the same experience they have come to expect from our bakery cafés,” said Panera's president Blaine Hurst.

Ron Shaich, chairman and CEO, said in the company's Q1 financial statements, that digital and delivery are among the themes the company has bet on, alongside clean food and loyalty.

"Outside the big three pizza players, Panera is leading the industry in digital, with 26% of sales now digital," Shaich said.

New ordering tracking system

Additionally, Panera is rolling out a new order tracking system powered by Bringg Technology, which allows customers to track their order from the café to their home or office.

“[Our customers] can see expected arrival time, follow the delivery’s progress on a map and be introduced to the driver,” Panera said.

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