Panera Bread breaks $1B in annualized digital sales
- Panera Bread has reached its goal of $1 billion in digital sales on an annualized basis, with 1.2 million weekly digital orders accounting for 26% of its total sales at the end of Q1 this year, as reported by Fortune. Digital orders include those booked on mobile, web or in-store kiosks.
- Panera Bread President Blaine Hurst told Fortune that growth can be attributed to the roll-out of kiosks and digital delivery services. The company said its $1 billion in annualized digital sales could double in 2019, and Hurst noted to Fortune that digital is growing at a faster clip than the rest of his business, pushing him to invest more in infrastructure.
- Panera launched its digital platform in 2014 and spent $150 million on new technology. It has since been seen as an early tech leader in the restaurant space, along with brands like Starbucks and Domino's Pizza.
Panera's success points to how digital is playing a growing role across business sectors, spurred by both cutting edge technology and greater mobile capabilities. Fortune noted that online ordering surpassed those placed verbally over the phone for Panera, and that consumers are showing a demand for mobile apps to place orders and request delivery.
While branded app adoption and usage has been cooling overall as a handful of larger digital platforms like Facebook command most of mobile users' time, the restaurant space appears to be an outlier. Starbucks was an early adopter of mobile payments, and it has been stepping up its game here with voice-driven ordering and payment through an artificial intelligence-driven My Starbucks Barista app feature.
While Panera, Starbucks and Domino's are highlighted as standouts in leveraging new technology to drive business, other players are clearly looking to replicate their success. Earlier this month, Denny's launched a 24/7 online and mobile ordering platform for pickup and delivery. The service even included social media functionality such as ordering via Twitter Direct Messages, and the diner chain plans to integrate a branded chatbot on Facebook in the near future.