This follows the violent clash on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, between white supremacists and anti-fascist demonstrators – in which one woman was killed – and the subsequent vandalism of the Holocaust Museum in Boston.
Voice against hate
“I don't think there's ever been a more important time for us to stand up as citizens for our American values and voice our disgust for hate based on race, religion, gender or sexual orientation,” wrote Shaich, who founded the US bakery chain in 1981.
“I am very proud that Panera has always been a place where all law-abiding people are welcome to work, to eat and to gather without intimidation, and you can rest assured your entire Leadership team is committed to keeping it that way.”
Upping digital ante
On Monday, Panera Bread announced it was upping the ante with its digital offerings.
In June, the company announced it had reached $1b in digital sales – those made via mobile, web or kiosk – and expect this to double in 2019.
The company is adding Order From My Table to its basket of digital services that include Rapid Pickup, Fast Lane Kiosks, Catering and Delivery.
The app enables customers visiting some of its quick-service restaurants (QSRs) the ability to place an order without walking to the register counter.
Customers can digitally order through the app while sitting anywhere in the restaurant and a Panera waiter will bring the meals to the table.
The company said it will be rolling out the Order From My Table app to all its stores by next year.
Maximizing brand experience
“We choose programs that solve a [customer] problem, and in the end, can maximize their experience with our brand,” said Mark Berinato, Panera Bread’s VP of digital.
The company installed its Panera 2.0 program in 2014 in a drive to make it “an industry-leading restaurant e-tailer”. As of the end of Q1 2017, system-wide digital sales were 26% of total company sales and the company received approximately 1.2 million digital orders a week.
“For us, it’s not just about new technology for technology’s sake - it's about making the guest experience better,” Shaich said in a statement at the time.
The company operates more than 2,000 bakery-cafes in 46 US states and in Canada, operating under Panera Bread, Saint Louis Bread Co. and Paradise Bakery & Café.