Have we reached the "Amazonization" (AMZN) of restaurant sales? The answer may be yes.
On Tuesday, Panera Bread (PNRA) announced that it has exceeded $1 billion in digital sales. That means sales by mobile, web or kiosk.
"By building digital into the core aspects of our business, we've transformed the customer journey at Panera," said Ron Shaich, Panera Founder, Chairman and CEO in a press relase. "For us, it's not just about new technology for technology's sake. It's about making the guest experience better."
"When you couple digital innovation with operational integrity, the result is a significant level of digital adoption at the guest level," said Blaine Hurst, Panera president. "Our holistic approach to technology pushes us to find new ways to make a difference in the lives of guests - which translates to the kinds of sales we're seeing today."
In 2014, Panera launched what it calls its Panera 2.0 program, which includes end-to-end digital pathways, including rapid pickup, fast lane kiosks and delivery.
As of the end of the first quarter of 2017, digital sales represented 26% of total company sales, the highest rate in the restaurant industry outside of the pizza players such as Domino's Pizza (DPZ) and Papa John's (PZZA) . According to a press release from the company, some 1.2 million digital orders are placed per week.
The company, which agreed to be acquired by JAB Holdings in April for $7.5 billion, announced also in the spring that it will begin adding 10,000 in cafe workers and delivery drivers to its chain of more than 2,000 sandwich and salad shops. The company said the move will affect 35% to 40% of its total locations, meaning delivery could very well be an option at a Panera near you by the year's end.
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Editor's Pick: Originally published Jun. 14.