Panera Is Trying Out New Ghost Kitchens & Mobile Kitchens

It’s bolstering virtual catering, too.

Panera kept ‘em guessing last year. The bread chain brought flatbread pizzas to its menus, introduced carbon footprint tracking on some items, and started a grocery service operation in the early days of the pandemic. For its next trick, Panera is trying its hand at ghost kitchens, according to Nation’s Restaurant News

Like most ghost kitchens, Panera’s will conduct a brisk delivery business rather than create the cafe vibes customers are accustomed to. It’s also amping up its online catering game in an apparent appeal to the work from home set. Rather than, say, last year at this time, when you and your office pals might pick over a plate of croissants and fruit, Panera’s model sends a code and ordering instructions to you and your teammates so everyone can kind of lunch together. 

It “will look like all of us sitting around a Zoom meeting with our food arriving at the same time,” Panera Bread CEO Niren Chaudhary told NRN.

We reached out to Panera for more details about its forthcoming ghost kitchens and we’ll update when we hear back. NRN reported that the new catering options rolled out on January 18. 

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