Saint Louis, MO

Panera Bread Tests New Palm-Scanning Technology in St. Louis

Herbie J Pilato

According to journalist Amelia Lucas and, "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."

As Lucas continued to report, "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," Lucas noted, "...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.

According to Hanson, Panera is seeking to expand the experiment to 10 to 20 more of its facilities over the next few months, including those operated by franchisees.

"The palm scanners are located near the restaurant’s registers," Lucas documented. "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 Lucas concluded, "Amazon has faced some backlash from consumers and privacy experts for its use of biometrics, which use biological measurements to identify someone. An Amazon Go customer filed a lawsuit Thursday in New York, alleging the retailer broke the city’s law that requires it to post signs informing customers that it’s using facial recognition."

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Herbie J Pilato is the author of several books about pop culture including RETRO ACTIVE TELEVISION, THE 12 BEST SECRETS OF CHRISTMAS, MARY: THE MARY TYLER MOORE STORY, TWITCH UPON A STAR, GLAMOUR, GIDGETS AND THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, DASHING, DARING AND DEBONAIR, and NBC & ME: MY LIFE AS A PAGE IN A BOOK, among others. He's also a TV writer/producer, and has worked for Reelz, Bravo, E!, TLC, and hosted THEN AGAIN WITH HERBIE J PILATO, the hit classic TV talk show (which premiered on Amazon Prime in 2019).

Los Angeles, CA

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