DC will get one of first digital-only Panera Bread stores

Panera Bread is going where the customers are, and D.C. will be among first markets to get a digital-only Panera store.

Panera just opened its first take-out and delivery-only store in Chicago, with plans to open two more this year in California and the District. It did not announce a location for the D.C. store, or an opening date.

Panera said as of the end of 2021, 81% of its sales were via off-premise channels, including delivery, pickup, drive-thru and catering.

The new stores, called Panera To Go, will have no seating. They will have shelves for delivery drivers and consumers to retrieve their orders. It is also evaluating adding kiosk and catering orders to the new format.

“Panera To Go creates yet another access point for our guests, in locations where Panera has not historically operated,” said Chief Brand Officer Eduardo Luz.

Forty-four percent of Panera locations now have drive-thru service. Panera launched a pickup service for orders in 2016, long before the pandemic pushed other quick serve chains to adopt it. In 2020, it launched curbside pickup.

Panera has almost two dozen locations in the D.C. metro area, and more than 2,100 stores in the U.S. and Canada.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up