Panera’s next gen restaurant design includes enhanced digital capabilities, personalized options and more drive-thru access. Despite these changes to accommodate off-premises diners, the fast-casual chain continues to bet customers will dine-in with its use of comfortable seating around Panera’s signature fireplace. Panera expects both off-premises and on-premises sales growth.

The Panera next-generation bakery-cafe, the first of which will open this November in Ballwin, Mo., features the following key updates:

  • Moving the bakery-cafe ovens to the front. Each night, bakers in every Panera bake bread and other bakery items fresh. The design places the ovens in full view of the guests, so they can fully immerse themselves in the experience of baking happening throughout the day.
  • Dual drive-thru with dedicated rapid pick-up lane. Panera aims to significantly increase the number of its locations that offer drive-thru service. To facilitate this, the new concept features a double-lane drive-thru, with one lane dedicated specifically to the brand's signature Rapid Pick-Up service.
  • Enhanced digital experience. The new Panera concept will feature digital innovations including updated ordering kiosks, automatic loyalty identification, and a fully digitized menu both in-cafe and in drive-thru.
  • Contactless ordering. This new service will allow guests who choose a fully contactless experience to easily order their meals from their own phones for dine-in, Rapid Pick-Up, drive-thru or delivery. After placing their orders, guests receive notification via their mobile phones letting them know their food is ready, thus minimizing interaction with cashiers, kiosks, paper receipts or pagers.
  • Refreshed brand identity. The next-generation bakery-cafes will introduce an updated Panera Bread logo and brand identity. Unveiled earlier this year, the refreshed Panera "Mother Bread" logo is a nod to Panera Bread's more than 30-year-old sourdough starter from which all of its sourdough bread is still made today.
  • Intuitive guest journey. This includes deploying clear and concise wayfinding on the exterior of the cafe and refining how the guest routes through the cafe after entering the front door from experiencing our bakery, ordering (either through a traditional register or a digital kiosk) and picking up their food. Guest convenience is one of the highest priorities of the new design.
Panera NextGen Entry

 "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,” says Eduardo Luz, chief brand and concept officer, Panera Bread.

The next-generation Panera bakery-cafe represents the latest update in a series of digital and menu innovations from the brand over the course of the last year, including Panera Curbside, its monthly coffee subscription service and its new flatbread pizza category that now includes five offerings. 

Panera worked with leading brand design agencies BrandOpus to develop the updated Panera brand identity and logo, and ChangeUp to design the next-generation Panera restaurant concept. 

Panera has more than 2,100 bakery-cafes in 48 states and in Ontario, Canada.