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Panera Begins Experimenting with AI

Two Panera Bread drive-thrus in upstate New York are testing out the technology

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Last year, in response to the Covid pandemic, Panera Bread updated the design of its fast-casual restaurants to include enhanced digital capabilities and more drive-thru access. Photography: Courtesy of Panera Last year, in response to the Covid pandemic, Panera Bread updated the design of its fast-casual restaurants to include enhanced digital capabilities and more drive-thru access. Photography: Courtesy of Panera

Panera Bread (St. Louis) is now testing artificial intelligence (AI) through two of its upstate New York drive-thrus, CNBC reports.

Debbie Roberts, Panera’s Operating Chief, said testing the AI will determine if it should be implemented throughout more Panera locations. The company is also hoping to test its accuracy with orders and its ability to decrease wait times. The same technology Panera is testing is reportedly in use through more than two dozen eateries in the U.S.

Customers will place their orders as usual per the drive-thru speaker, and employees will be on standby in case any issues arise.

The company has already experimented a little with AI in recent years, using a system in store that monitors coffee temperature and volume.

Currently, 45 percent of the retailer’s 2000-plus restaurants include drive-thru lanes.

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