Since the advent of the smartphone revolution about ten years ago, the world has changed at a drastic pace, and the restaurant industry is no exception. Many restaurant chains large and small have launched their own apps to make dining more convenient and offer rewards for their loyal customers. At EatDrinkDeals, we are committed to helping our users find the best restaurant value for their money, no matter where the deals may be found. Therefore, we are starting a new series of reviews of restaurant apps. Here’s our review of the Panera Bread app.
Convenience and Reliability
To get started, create an account with some basic info such as your email and phone number. Panera Bread allows you to use the app for Pickup, Delivery, or “Order From My Table”. The last one is a nice feature during the peak hours. You can claim a table and let the technologically challenged folks wait in line to order! The overall layout of the app is well done. To start your order, click “New Order” at the bottom of the screen. You’ll then pick what order type (Pickup, Delivery, or Tableside), then choose a location. Like most other high functioning apps, you can let Panera Bread access your location to find the nearest spot, enter your favorites, and so on.
You can order your food to be ready ASAP, or up to two weeks in advance, which is another convenient feature. Ingredients are clearly identified for each food item you order, you can customize easily (with any upcharges clearly stated), and all the menu items look appetizing. Payment can be handled with a credit card, PayPal, or Panera Bread gift card.
Rewards and Savings
The Rewards section is the prize ribbon icon at the top right of the home screen on your app. Just for joining you get a free pastry or other sweet. Other possible rewards include assorted bakery-cafe items. Panera also may offer you exclusive previews and tastings and invitations to special events. Rewards are earned based on “visits”, which means you must make some sort of purchase. This is different than many other restaurants where rewards points are based on the amount you spend. So, Panera appears to be leaning more towards its regular customers who come in for small purchases often. Those who put in large orders infrequently, such as the office gopher who has to pick up the catering order, don’t get as much love. This isn’t a bad thing, necessarily, but it’s worth noting. According to Panera, rewards will show up every 3 to 6 visits.
Is Panera Bread one of the best restaurant apps to save your money?
The Rewards aren’t anything to write home about, but otherwise Panera Bread has a great app. We especially enjoy the Order From My Table feature to make sure we get a seat during the lunch rush hour. We experienced no problems with the app during our testing, the interface is user friendly, and the entire process from ordering to payment is smooth sailing. The app won’t necessarily save you a ton of money, but if you visit Panera Bread often it could save you time. And we all know that time is money!
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