The Covid-19 pandemic has hastened merchants’ conversion to digital wallets and other forms of contactless payments, but at the same time the imperative for fast, if possible single-click, ordering has only grown more urgent. In the latest development, the Panera Bread chain announced Tuesday in integration with Google that allows customers to order meals for curbside pickup or delivery via the Google Search, Google Assistant, or Google Maps apps. The new link to Google includes an integration with the Google Pay mobile wallet for payments.
“Our guests are looking to us to provide easy, contactless ways to order their next meal,” said George Hanson, chief digital officer at St. Louis-based Panera, in a statement. “As a tech-forward brand, we are committed to growing our digital presence and off-premise channels.”
On Google Search or Maps, users can search for “Panera near me” to invoke an option to order from the closest café, according to Panera’s announcement. With Google Assistant, users can say “hey Google, find a Panera near me” to find the closest location and place an order.
“As consumer behavior continues to shift towards digital ordering, our team is focused on building ways to make online ordering quick and accessible for restaurants,” said Anantica Singh, senior product manager at Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc.. in a statement.
The new Google option is available at “participating” locations, Panera says. The 39-year-old restaurant chain operated 2,128 cafes as of June 30 in 48 states and in Ontario, Canada.