Panera Is Officially Rolling Out Drive-Thru Pickup, And A New Deal

Panera Bread isn't your average fast food restaurant. After all, the brand bills itself as more of a sit-down casual place than a fast food restaurant like McDonald's or Burger King. But, like most modern chains these days, Panera Bread offers customers a drive-thru option (though, according to some workers, working the drive-thru isn't the best part of the job). Still, customers seem to like it and, never one to push away its customer base, Panera isn't afraid of venturing deeper into the idea of improving its drive-thru system.

The company has recently announced in a press release that a new type of drive-thru model will be coming to all of its locations nationwide. A bit different than your average fast food drive-thru, Panera's latest innovation is limited to pick-up orders via its online website or mobile app. All customers have to do is simply pull up to the drive-thru window following the placement of their online order and give their name, rather than having to venture inside the restaurant to do so. It's basically a more convenient way to pick up an already-prepared mobile order.

In order to celebrate the nationwide launch of its new drive-thru service, Panera Bread is also offering an exclusive deal to MyPanera members when they order online. Said members better hurry though, as this deal will only be around for a very limited time.

You can get $5 off an order of $15 or more

Perhaps as a way to encourage customers to try out its new drive-thru model, Panera Bread is also rolling out a deal exclusive for MyPanera members who make an online drive-thru order. Starting on June 1 and extending to June 30, any online or mobile order $15 or more will get a $5 discount. In order to be eligible for the discount, the order must not only be placed online, but it must also include the promotional code 5OFFDTPICKUP during the check-out process.

This isn't the first time Panera Bread has made advancements toward improving its drive-thrus. In August 2022, CNBC reported that Panera actually began to test out artificial intelligence that would take drive-thru orders. Customers would speak to an "employee," in reality a computer program known as Tori, which would log and place the customer's order. Human employees, however, would still be part of the process, taking payment and preparing the customer's order. Tori would simply free up a position by taking and logging customer orders. This model was tested in two Panera Breads in upstate New York but, unlike the 2023 drive-thru announcement, never went into national release.

Whether or not you're giving your order to a machine or just picking up a mobile order of a sandwich and soup, it seems Panera Bread is taking more and more of an interest in implementing and perfecting the drive-thru model for its restaurants.