Customers can now voice their orders for Panera items to be delivered or collected through the Google Assistant virtual personal assistant app on their phones.
Panera said full rollout across the US is anticipated by the end of this year.
“Google Assistant users can say, ‘Ok Google, ask Panera for delivery’ or ‘Ok Google, talk to Panera’,” said the company in a statement.
“The Panera app shows [customers] the menu, suggests past menu items based on history and walk the user through menu items. Users will pay from their saved wallet information with proper authentication.”
Ron Shaich, Panera’s chairman and CEO, said: “With more than 1.3 million digital orders placed a week at Panera, there is a clear demand for voice-activated ordering methods, and this integration with Google is a step towards a better guest experience.”
Panera's president, Blaine Burst, added: “Voice-activated ordering powered by artificial intelligence is the future.
“We know the industry is in its infancy… In the long run, the ease and convenience will be meaningful to our guests. Placing a voice-activated order in many cases is more than 80% faster than a traditional app order.”
Panera said its recently launched Panera Delivery will be available for voice-activated ordering as well.
Panera introduced a series of integrated technologies under its Panera 2.0 program in 2014, which, according to the company, is expected to “reduce friction such as wait times, improve order accuracy, and minimize or eliminating crowding."
Since the program launch, Panera contends it is now a serious “restaurant e-tailer” with 30% of its total sales coming from digital services.