Fast-casual chain Panera today announced a new integration with Google that lets customers order pickup and delivery meals directly via Google’s Search, Maps, and Assistant apps.
It’s a pretty simple setup. Search “Panera” and, if nearby locations of the chain are participating, you’ll see “order pickup” and “order delivery” buttons right beneath the map on the page. You then simply scroll through the menu selecting the items you want to purchase and checkout using your mobile wallet. Those using voice can ask Google Assistant to find the nearest Panera and place your order directly via the device.
It’s no surprise that the Google integration is available for off-premises-only orders. Curbside pickup and delivery remain two of the biggest sales channels for restaurants right now as dining rooms remain either shuttered or operating at reduced capacity. In response, those restaurant chains that have the money to do so are pouring more resources into speeding up the off-premises experience with more digital tools.
Google itself is no stranger to the restaurant business. In fact, the search giant has been something of a sleeping giant the last couple years when it comes to restaurants. In 2019, it added menu recognition to Google Lens, which lets you point a camera at a menu to see popular items, and integrated third-party delivery services directly into Search, Maps, and Assistant. It also partnered with third-party delivery integrator Olo to let restaurants offer delivery via Google.
And with the fate of the restaurant dining room still very uncertain, words like “speed” and “efficiency” are top of the list for many restaurant chains when it comes to their off-premises strategies these days. Panera is no exception. The chain has already inked hybrid delivery partnerships with many of the major services, and recently launched its own geofence-enabled curbside pickup program.
The Google partnership is available for select Panera stores around the U.S. In all likelihood, it will also press forward the trend of major restaurant chains partnering with Google for off-premises orders.