Two Panera Bread locations in St. Louis are piloting Amazon’s groundbreaking palm-scanning technology, Amazon One, to allow customers an even faster way to both connect to their loyalty program and pay.
Whether you visit Panera Bread for the tasty soups and decadent macaroni and cheese or for the quick grab-and-go ease of picking up lunch or dinner, your visit to the popular fast-casual chain is about to get even faster. Two Panera Bread locations in St. Louis are piloting Amazon’s groundbreaking palm-scanning technology to allow customers an even faster way to both connect to their loyalty program and pay. Panera has been at the forefront of restaurant technology for years, but it’s taking a big step by using the palm-scanning technology, called Amazon One. It’s a step that might have as big an effect on Amazon One as it does on Panera Bread if all goes successfully.
Though Amazon One has already been implemented in some Whole Foods locations, Amazon Go stores, and a few stadiums and arenas, it’s yet to become a widespread method of payment. But all that might change if the pilot program with Panera goes well; with over 2,000 locations and 52 million members in its loyalty program, Panera Bread could be just the opportunity that Amazon One needs to prove that palm-scanning is the payment method of the future. According to CNBC, Panera’s Chief Digital Officer also thinks the partnership will be advantageous for Panera; the palm-scanning technology lets you pay and access your loyalty membership all in one step, rather than splitting in two separate actions, which would mean faster checkout and service for loyal customers.
Though they started small with just two St. Louis restaurants, Panera Bread is planning on expanding the pilot program to between 10 and 20 other stores over the next several months, including some franchisees. To use the palm scanners, customers must first link their loyalty program accounts to Amazon One, which they can do beforehand either at home or in the restaurant. They’ll also have to enable both loyalty program identification and payment for their Amazon One account.
While many consumers are excited by the new palm-scanning technology, others are concerned about the privacy of such a widespread use of biometrics data. Some companies and venues, like Red Rocks Amphitheater, dropped the technology after pushback from privacy groups, but Panera is sticking to its guns when it comes to Amazon One. They believe the technology will be both successful and secure for customers, enhancing the overall customer experience.
Because you must link your information to your palm-scanning data, you’re never using only your palm to pay for something. Amazon also assures customers that any biometric data is sent to a secure area of the cloud and is protected and, while Amazon’s promises likely aren’t comforting to skeptics, many argue that we’re already using biometric data in our everyday life, from things like facial recognition to fingerprint-scanning. Thanks to Panera’s embrace of technological advancements in the restaurant industry, as well as their large, loyal customer base, they’re looking more attractive to investors every day; only time will tell if the partnership between Amazon One and Panera is as much of a success as they expect it to be.