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July 14, 2016
How Panera Bread Baked Digital Innovation into its Growth Strategy
 
Not so long ago, Panera Bread was anything but a digital trailblazer. Founded as St. Louis Bread in the 1980s, the company was managing 2,000 bakery-cafes throughout North America without a significant investment in digital growth. That all changed in 2014 with the launch of Panera 2.0.

The program, which incorporates a series of integrated technologies, digitally mobilizes everything from ordering and paying at in-store kiosks (much faster service) to operations (employee training and protocols to ensure increased speed doesn’t decrease accuracy of order fulfillment). Through the Panera app, a customer can now even place an order up to five days in advance and recall their favorite meals and drinks from previous orders.

Panera 2.0 has been a rapid success. By Q2 2015, same-store sales grew 2.4% in the bakery-cafes that had adopted the technology compared to 0.1% the year before. Transaction growth—a measure of how many people visited a Panera year-over-year—increased 1.1%, an impressive rise by industry standards. By Q1 2016, earnings per share were up 21%.

For Blaine Hurst, Panera’s chief transformation and growth officer, the results are an appetizing validation of the tech-centered strategy that he helped craft, initially to make up for lost time.

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This article was published on Fast Company. A link to the original piece appears after the post. www.fastcompany.com
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