Panera Bread is piloting Amazon’s palm-scanning technology in St. Louis to offer customers a faster way to connect to their loyalty program and pay.
The bakery-cafe chain, which has long been considered a leader in restaurant technology, is the latest restaurant to use what the tech giant has dubbed Amazon One. It’s already been implemented in dozens of Amazon-owned Whole Foods locations, Amazon Go stores and some stadiums and arenas.
Panera has more than 2,000 locations and its loyalty program has more than 52 million members, representing a big expansion opportunity for Amazon One. A representative for Amazon declined to share data on existing signups for the palm-based payment system.
For now, Panera’s starting small, with just two company-owned restaurants in its hometown of St. Louis.
“We think the payment plus loyalty identification is the secret sauce that can unlock a really personalized, warm and efficient experience for our guests in our cafes,” Panera Chief Digital Officer George Hanson told CNBC.
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Panera is looking to expand the test to 10 to 20 more restaurants over the next few months, including some operated by franchisees, according to Hanson.
The palm scanners are located near the restaurant’s registers. To use them, customers need to link their loyalty program accounts to Amazon One, which they can do at home or inside the restaurant. They’ll also need to enable loyalty identification and payment for their accounts.
As a result of a 2021 ordinance, New York is the only significant American city that mandates businesses display signs informing customers that they are collecting biometric data. Amazon is now being sued for not telling customers about facial recognition.
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