US: Panera Bread embraces Apple Pay, plans loyalty integration

WM Circle Logo

By: RickFerguson |

Posted on January 29, 2016

Speaking at the National Retail Federation�s 105th Annual Convention and Expo recently, quick-service restaurant chain Panera Bread executive Brian Backer revealed that the company has enjoyed significant success in encouraging mobile payments through the Apple Pay system�and plans to integrate their loyalty programme into the platform.

Today�s money quote comes courtesy of reporter Alex Samuely’s article in Mobile Commerce Daily, who quotes Brian Backer commenting on the chain�s Apple Pay success and its future plans:

We accept Apple Pay and we are working on [integrating] Apple Pay with loyalty too,� [said Backer]. �We see great success with Apple Pay in-app, but I�d say it�s still emerging.

The article reports that one in four in-app payments are made with Apple Pay, an encouraging sign for retailers on the fence about how quickly to embrace mobile payments. For its part, Panera is charging full speed ahead with its �Panera 2.0� initiative designed to embrace mobile ordering, payments, and loyalty. In addition to rolling out Apple Pay, the company is experimenting with order-ahead, tableside ordering, and kiosk initiatives, all designed to give Panera customers maximum flexibility in designing their own best Panera experience.

The Bullet Point: Retailers wondering which mobile payment system to get behind might be encouraged by Panera�s success with Apple Pay to embrace Apple�s proprietary platform for their own payment and loyalty efforts. The danger? Leaving out the vast majority of consumers who don�t own an iPhone. It may be too soon to choose a winner in the mobile payment wars, but our money is on the platform that can best work seamlessly across devices�which gives platforms such as PayPal, which works across any device and on the mobile web (which consumers prefer to applications), the edge.

To drive adoption, meanwhile, retailers should integrate their loyalty efforts with their mobile payments to provide a frictionless, flexible mobile customer experience. The future lies in mobile�and companies like Panera Bread are leading the way.

�Rick Ferguson