Panera Bread, a leading bakery-café fast food chain, is focusing on offsite channels with its new digital-only ordering format.

On Friday June 10, the brand announced the opening of a new “Panera To Go” concept in Chicago, the first of three test locations planned throughout the year. Although the format is billed as “digital only”, it’s not a ghost kitchen that only exists in virtual spaces, but rather a small-format restaurant with drive-thru pickup and shelving that the consumers and third-party delivery drivers can collect online. orders.

“We strive to make it easy for our customers to access the menu prepared by Panera’s chef, in the most convenient way. Panera To Go creates another access point for our customers… in places where Panera has never operated,” said Eduardo Luz, brand and concept manager at Panera Bread, in a statement. “We’re excited to move into other business areas, where we know people are hungry for what Panera has to offer.”

This decision targets the evolution of consumer eating habits in recent years. Results from the PYMNTS 2021 How We Eat Playbook, created in collaboration with Fiserv’s Carat, found that consumers are now 31% more likely to buy meals for delivery or takeout than they are to dine in. Additionally, 43% of all consumers said they order restaurant meals or groceries from home more often than before March 2020, and 48% said the same about pickup.

See also: Restaurants and grocers see path to attract 200 million new customers

Tim Hortons announces drive-thru location only

Panera isn’t the only major brand redesigning its stores to change ordering habits. Tim Hortons announced Monday (June 6) that it is launching a small-format, drive-thru-only concept that will open in a handful of states later this summer.

“This is an exciting time for Tim Hortons as we update aspects of our model to maximize the guest experience and improve operator efficiencies that are driving our expansion into the United States. United,” Alexandra Caplan, senior director of brand business development, said in a statement to QSR. “These two catering formats allow franchisees to develop a model adapted to their local demand. This flexibility is essential to the growth of our brand in various markets. »

Indeed, drive-thru is a top priority for many restaurant customers, according to the findings of the February edition of PYMNTS’ Digital Divide study, “The Digital Divide Report: Technology As A Catalyst For Restaurant Purchases.” , created in collaboration with Paytronix. In fact, the study, which is based on a balanced census survey of more than 2,400 U.S. adults in early December, found that 38% of consumers say drive-thru pickup options would make them shop more. purchases in a restaurant.

Read more: How restaurants can leverage order-limiting tools as demand for delivery increases

“Our customers are looking for great service, high-quality coffee and food, and they want to feel safe when they visit Tim Hortons restaurants,” said Jay Pritchett, marketing manager for Tim Hortons US, in a statement. communicated. “Our new restaurant design offers all of this and more.”

Restaurant prices rise with inflation in May

Restaurant prices continue to rise with no end in sight. According to the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on Friday June 10 that restaurant prices rose 0.7% from a month-over-month in May, compared to 0.6% in April, and rose 7.4% year-on-year in May, compared to 7.2% in April.

The consumer price increases come as restaurants grapple with rising costs for ingredients, staples and supplies, leaving them in a position where they must constantly re-evaluate their menus.

Read more: For restaurants, inflationary challenges invite menu creativity

Changing menu items and prices isn’t the only way restaurants are addressing these challenges. Some have slipped extra fees onto checks, and others have reduced portion sizes.

Related News: Restaurants Slip Into New Consumption Fees As Costs Soar

Domino’s cuts promotions to offset costs

Miso Robotics partners with Amazon Web Services to accelerate expansion

As restaurants’ ongoing labor issues increase pressure to automate, Miso Robotics, a leader in restaurant robotics, on Tuesday (June 7th) announced a partnership with Amazon Web Services to accelerate development and expanding its technology using AWS RoboMaker.

“The integration into AWS RoboMaker has been a game-changer for us to scale our products and ensure the software and its updates are ready to deploy with units in the field,” said Chris Kruger, CTO of Miso Robotics, in a press release. “We will go from 12 simulations per month with individual units to 100 in one night. By testing hundreds of configurations in parallel, we are able to reduce costs and develop products faster. »

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NEW PYMNTS DATA: THE CUSTOM PURCHASING EXPERIENCE STUDY – MAY 2022

About: PYMNTS’ survey of 2,094 consumers for The Tailored Shopping Experience report, a collaboration with Elastic Path, shows where merchants are succeeding and where they need to up their game to deliver a personalized shopping experience.

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