How Panera Bread reinvented its customer experience

hurstBlaine Hurst, the Chief Transformation and Growth Officer at Panera Bread, says that he and founder Ron Shaich both acknowledged that the fast casual restaurant chain had a problem. Panera, with $2.4 billion in annual revenue, had a vision of being “a comfortable place to hang out — an everyday oasis, with fireplaces and comfy chairs,” as Hurst puts it. But the problem was that as volume grew at many of the company’s 1,800 locations, “it was no longer pleasant,” Hurst concedes. Customers were standing in line, and then standing around again in what Shaich dubbed “the mosh pit” waiting for their to-go or for-here orders to appear on a counter.

The duo embarked on an effort to radically upgrade the customer experience by redesigning the stores.

“We called it the ‘two old man project,'” Hurst says. “We’re two of the oldest people in the company, but we were working on the newest innovations.” It wasn’t just about installing kiosks and digital displays, though, or adding features to Panera’s mobile app. “We realized we needed a holistic solution,” Hurst says. “We needed to think about how people want to order and pay, how we could increase throughput and accuracy in making the food, and also, avoiding that mosh pit problem.”

... continued ...

Gated Article Promo

Read the rest of the article ... and give IL a test drive!

Complete the form below for a 3-day trial of Innovation Leader, including access to case studies, research excerpts, live calls, and other resources. Got questions? Get in touch »
Watch this quick video to see the main benefits of Innovation Leader membership.
Innovation Leader
What Is Innovation Leader?
Are you responsible for creating new growth in a large organization? We've got you covered. IL members get full access to our research, articles, case studies, live events, webcasts & conference calls, downloadable resources and more. Become a member »

Case Studies, Articles
Members-only online access to articles, case studies, best practices, video tutorials, more.
Exclusive reports on topics including metrics, benchmarking, labs, compensation, and more.
Member discounts to our one-of-a-kind, loved-by-participants live learning events.
Dozens of downloadable checklists, innovation frameworks, spreadsheets, and dashboards.
Learn More & Become a Member