Panera Bread announces plans for a new bakery-café design

Panera unveiled its new generation Panera restaurant-bakery-café design. As the brand that introduced fast casual to the industry, Panera is redefining its modern experience to serve today’s customers. This includes enhanced digital capabilities, personalized options and more drive-through access for an increasingly offsite world; Yet the brand still bets on dining with cozy seating around its signature fireplace and emphasizing its unique artisan bakery experience in a vibrant, warm and welcoming environment.

The restaurant’s new design builds on Panera’s digital innovation and positions the concept to continue to thrive in offsite channels including delivery, drive-thru and Quick Pickup® – both in-café and via a dedicated drive-thru lane. A modernized and revitalized dining experience is of equal importance, as the brand believes that dine-in and take-out dining will continue to grow.

“Innovation is at the heart of who we are and with our new next-generation Panera concept, we are doing what we have always done: keeping a personalized customer experience at the heart of everything we do.” said Eduardo Luz, Brand and Concept Director, Panera Bread. “We are redoubling our efforts 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 the industry. ‘digital access for the offsite world.’

The next-generation Panera Bakery-Café, the first of which will open in November in Ballwin, MO, just outside of Panera’s hometown of St. Louis, features the following major updates:

  • Artisan Bakery Experience – Each evening, the bakers at each Panera bake fresh bread and baked goods. Now, Panera is moving the bakery-café ovens out of sight for customers, so they can fully immerse themselves in the baking experience throughout the day.

  • Double drive-thru with dedicated quick pick-up lane – Panera aims to significantly increase its locations with drive-thru and the new concept includes a dual-lane drive-thru, with a dedicated lane specifically for the brand’s quick pick-up service.

  • Enhanced Digital Experience – Already a leader in digital customer experience, the new Panera concept will feature new digital innovations including contactless catering and delivery, updated ordering kiosks, automatic loyalty identification and menu fully digitized both in the café and in the drive-thru. -through.

  • Contactless Ordering – This new service will allow customers who choose a completely contactless experience to easily order their food from their own phone for dine-in, quick pickup, drive-thru or delivery. Once the order is placed, customers are notified via mobile notifications when their food is ready, minimizing interaction with cashiers, kiosks, paper receipts or pagers.

  • Updated Brand Identity – Next-generation bakery cafes will introduce an updated Panera Bread logo and brand identity, unveiled in 2021. The updated Panera “Mother Bread” logo is a nod to the sourdough of over 30 years of Panera Bread. from which all of its sourdough bread is still made today.

  • Intuitive customer journey – One of the main goals of the next-gen design has been to improve the customer journey and make it more intuitive. This includes rolling out clear and concise directions outside the café and refining how customers navigate the café after entering the front door – from experiencing our bakery, from ordering (either through a traditional register or a digital kiosk) and picking up their food. Customer comfort is one of the highest priorities of the new design.

Next-generation Panera Bakery Cafe is the latest update in a series of digital and menu innovations from the brand over the past year, including Panera Curbside, its $8.99 premium coffee subscription $/month plus tax, as well as a new Flatbread Pizza category that has expanded to five delicious flatbread offerings. By seamlessly integrating commands with the company’s loyalty program—MyPanera– Guests can save their favorites, earn and track rewards, and receive personalized personalized content.

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. For more information or to place an order, download the Panera app or visit

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Todd A. Mitchell