Fairfax becomes first Panera store to use self-serve kiosks

The Panera Bread store in Fairfax Shopping Center in North Wilmington is now offering customers the option of touchscreen kiosks. It is the first Delaware store to use kiosks, said manager Devia Johnson.

She said the kiosks are not in response to Delaware’s moves toward a $15 minimum wage. “It’s just to enhance customer service,” she said.

Locally, Wawa and other fast-food providers and casual-dining restaurants such as Olive Garden have turned to kiosks as a labor efficiency and a time-saver.

Business Insider reported Panera Bread is in the process of reinventing itself, dubbing the change Panera 2.0. It said kiosk installation, already in more than half of all Panera locations nationwide,  result in labor savings for Panera, allowing the company to use more employees within the café.  QSR, another industry newsletter, said the main purpose is to save time and offer quicker service. Millennials are the biggest users of kiosks, QSR said.

A call to Panera’s regional marketing office was not returned.

When the House Small Business Caucus met last spring to discuss attempts to move the minimum wage to $15, restaurant industry representatives brought a kiosk. They said the kiosk would be the future of the restaurant industry if the minimum wage were raised.

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