Panera Bread speaks to so many different audiences and stands for so many things - like taste, craftsmanship, and community. The PaneraBread.com site weaves all these disparate threads together in a single, unified experience built around the idea of relevance. With smart editorial content, a custom dayparted experience, a sophisticated locator tool that allows filtering by restaurant services, and opportunities for community building around shared values, the richness of the brand truly comes to life.
With over 1700 bakery-cafes across the United States and Canada, Panera Bread is known for serving high quality, reasonably priced deliciousness in a warm, inviting environment, where customers get comfort food, relaxed spots to gather, and free wifi. Panera’s reason for being is quality, craveability, and values – it’s all about crafting and caring. The new PaneraBread.com is an immersive, sensory web experience that brings everything a Panera bakery-café stands for to life online. Panerabread.com is a single, high-impact destination that represents the Panera brand to many audiences: brand loyalists, mass consumers, corporations and other catering audiences, job seekers, press, shareholders, and more. The site has to bring the welcoming character of the bakery-cafés to a screen, creating the kind of place where you want to hang out and shining a spotlight on the delicious food – because both are defining for Panera as a brand. The goal, in short, was to turn up the volume. We wanted to create a single, unified experience that would amplify every aspect of the brand - craftsmanship, culinary expertise, social responsibility, and craveability – while at the same time, maximizing the potential for commerce.
At the start of the project, Panera had six disparate sites, each with different branding and navigation, and each telling the Panera story in a different way. The goal was a single, brand flagship site that would encapsulate everything these sites were communicating in one cohesive experience. In conjunction, the team had to re-platform onto a single content management system, so the design, content integration, and replatforming projects were happening together, in concert. The key to success was bringing the experience customers love about their nearest Panera bakery-cafe—the craftsmanship, the notion of place to linger, the sensory appeal of the food itself, the feeling of community and shared social values— to the digital experience. We started with with a cohesive architecture that was all about seamlessness and relevancy, guiding users through the offerings, helping them go deeper and find more, and creating opportunities for community. The unified site needed a fresh visual style to reflect and underline the brand’s commitment to community and craftsmanship. Heroing the food was the key to craveability. We looked for ways to bring the deliciousness into the spotlight and add editorial content to make it more visible and actionable. To give commerce a boost, we focused on anticipating and serving up relevant content based on location and time of day, making enjoying Panera easier and more appealing. From six disparate web experiences, we created a responsive, unified site that dramatically amplified the entire brand experience.
In a single destination, PaneraBread.com tells the story of an expansive brand that stands for so many things, yet anticipates individual customer needs and serves them relevant connected content. PaneraBread.com is the first digital restaurant experience that focuses on getting to know their customers as individuals and building a one-to-one relationship. The unified site was designed for a frictionless browsing experience that brings together brand values with culinary content and menu items, connecting them to the Panera community that powers the brand. The experience is organized around the idea of relevance. It offers up a smart, dayparted experience customized to the user’s time and location and uses a sophisticated locator tool to allow filtering by restaurant services so users can find a bakery café that’s just what they want. Content is tagged into themes that appeal to different brand segments—from the educated food influencer to the functional eater— and a related content strategy encourages consumers to break out of old habits and try something new. The careful choreographing of each of every facet of the brand into a single experience brings the richness of Panera Bread to life.