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Panera opens next-generation concept store in Ballwin, Missouri

Newly-built bakery cafe features dual drive-thru, digital kiosk, reimagined interior with bakery ovens in full view

Panera Bread opened its new concept store in Ballwin, Mo., featuring its next-generation restaurant design. The new prototype, which was announced last May, offers an upgraded dine-in experience, centered around the trademark fireplace, with enhanced digital options to personalize the guest experience, in addition to a dual drive-thru.

A new contactless dine-in experience allows customers to order online or from their phones, making the on-premises ordering as easy as it is for Rapid Pick-up and delivery. Once an order is prepared, guests are notified via mobile notifications when their food is ready, minimizing interaction with cashiers, kiosks, paper receipts or pagers, for a truly contactless journey. (Cafe photo here.)

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Updated ordering kiosks and automatic loyalty identification are additional enhancements, while a fully-digitized menu is available both in-cafe and in the drive-thru.

“Our new bakery-cafe is designed with the best of what makes Panera unique—a warm, inviting environment that delights our guests, and the smell of freshly baked bread coupled with tech-enabled convenience,” said Eduardo Luz, chief bread & concept officer, Panera Bread. “We’re proud to launch this new design just outside of our hometown of St. Louis; in fact, we couldn’t think of a better place to showcase our vision for the future than the place where we started.”

The next-generation design came to fruition with the help of design agency ChangeUp.

In the next-generation bakery, Panera also revealed an updated Panera Bread logo and brand identity. A Panera “Mother Bread” logo pays tribute to the chain’s 30-year-old sourdough starter, which it still uses today to make all of its sourdough bread.

“We undertook the development of the next generation Panera bakery-cafe with a relentless focus on guest experience,” said Rob Sopkin, SVP, chief development officer, Panera Bread. “Every step of the guest journey was scrutinized to find ways to make it more intuitive and convenient, and the result represents the very best of our design and development teams that we are proud to open today.”

Panera Bread, part of Panera Brands, which is readying an initial public offering, reported the new design last year, and opened the Ballwin cafe November 18.

Sopkin indicates that approximately half of the 2,120 Panera Bread cafes will be converted to the next-generation design, according to a report from the St. Louis Dispatch.

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Panera Bread, 14646 Manchester Road, Ballwin, MO 63011

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