I Love My Rapid Pick-Up!

I Love My Rapid Pick-Up!

In a hurry? The new Rapid Pick-Up service* at Panera Bread® lets you order online and grab your meal when you’re ready.

It takes Gary Jackson, at his best estimate, five to six minutes—what with a wait for the elevator and a short walk—to get from his desk in a Boston high-rise office building to the Panera Bread at street level. And in that time, if he’s played his cards right, Panera has his lunch order waiting for him. If the timing is perfect, he’ll stride into the bakery-cafe just as a Panera associate is placing his bag, tagged with his name and receipt, on a shelf specifically set aside for his order.

Well, not just Gary’s order, but those of anyone who has used Panera’s new Rapid Pick-Up service, which allows customers to create an online account through which they can place an order, pay for it securely via credit card, and have it waiting for them in a designated spot in their local bakery-cafe.

“I get lunch at Panera several times a week at least,” says Gary, who is a systems administrator for Boston Children’s Hospital. His building, which he estimates has several thousand daily occupants, plus several other office buildings nearby—in the Fenway Park area—have that one Panera location buzzing with lunchtime activity. “I used to go in and wait on a line. Then they put in kiosks with computer ordering, but there’d be a line to use those too.” Then one day, an associate ringing up his order suggested he try Rapid Pick-Up, explaining that the service—buying securely online, picking up at a designated time—was new at that location. No one needed to ask him twice: “I tried it the next day, and it couldn’t have been easier or more convenient,” Gary says.

Now when Gary thinks about lunch, all he has to do is log on to his account and flip through his options, even making changes to familiar orders (his order history is there for him to go through so he has no more “what did I eat yesterday?” conundrums). “I’ll often ask that they take out the Gorgonzola in a salad and sub in Asiago. It’s never a problem.” And that customization? It’ll be listed among Gary’s order history so he can go back to it time and again. Rapid Pick-Up customers can also order early (say, you know you have a busy day ahead, so you hop online and create a lunch order as soon as you get to work) and schedule a convenient pickup time.

One day when Gary grabbed his bag at the order pickup station, he noticed a sticker advertising a new, free Panera Bread app for iPhone®. As you might imagine, it’s now downloaded on his iPhone, making the ordering even easier from anywhere (an Android app is in the works, but not yet available).

“More people should know about this,” says Gary, though he clearly feels grateful to be among the few not waiting in line during his lunch hour. “I love Rapid Pick-Up.” A minute online, five to six to get downstairs, and it’s lunchtime. Today’s order: the seasonal favorite Strawberry Poppyseed & Chicken Salad.

*Rapid Pick-Up service is available at most Panera Bread bakery-cafes nationwide.