Panera Bread using technology en masse
More and more businesses are turning to technology as a way to help speed up productivity and increase customer satisfaction and Panera is no different. Panera has struggled with slow speed for a while at its restaurants and has decided to use technology to help speed things up.
Now, they hope to improve speed and accuracy by introducing kiosks. Customers will be able to order from their phones or at kiosks. There will still be a few cashiers, should you choose to avoid the technology.
Panera Chief Executive, Ron Shaich, stated the reason for the technology upgrade: “the dirty little secret in the food industry is one in seven orders are wrong. We’re one in ten, a little better than average. Half of those inaccuracies happen during order input.”
How the new system works
Also, Panera has decided to try to eliminate the long lines of customers waiting to pick up their orders at the counter; the kiosks and phones will take care of this. When you order from a kiosk, you will take a locator, resembling those flashing beepers we are all familiar with, and immediately seat yourself; no more waiting at the counter.
When you take the locator, it sends a signal to the kitchen/server indicating which table you are sitting at using the “table tracker” system. Basically, it is a mini tracking device, locking on to the tag underneath the table. The Panera server will bring your food to you; no more getting up to grab it when your name/number is called. Panera has invested $42 million in this technology and expects it to be fully implemented by 2016.
Are the robots taking over?
Are kiosks going to be the next big thing for restaurants and businesses in general? While they may improve accuracy of orders since the customer is inputting the information themselves, it could put pressure on other departments to stay on track with multiple orders being input from multiple sources.
Kiosks could very well become the new standard for businesses; however, the cost to upgrade technology may dissuade some from taking the plunge.