ST. LOUIS–Sunset Hills-based Panera Bread on Thursday opened the company’s first restaurant featuring “Next Generation” design on the site of what used to be a Steak N’ Shake restaurant on Manchester Road in Ballwin.
Among the changes in the new look, customers can now watch the bread-baking process, use contactless dine-in and delivery, and a double-lane drive thru.
“Our new bakery-cafe is designed with the best of what makes Panera unique – a warm, inviting environment that delights our guests, and the smell of freshly baked bread coupled with tech-enabled convenience,” said Eduardo Luz, Chief Brand & Concept Officer, Panera Bread in a news release. “We’re proud to launch this new design just outside of our hometown of St. Louis; in fact, we couldn’t think of a better place to showcase our vision for the future than the place where we started.”
One change might leave St. Louis area customers scratching their heads. The restaurant is using the Panera name instead of the ‘St. Louis Bread Co’ monicker normally associated with local locations here.
“This is a one-time opening with the “Panera Bread” brand name in St. Louis and there will be no change to the St. Louis Bread Co. name,” a spokesman told FOX2. “Because of the national importance of the Next Gen platform for the company, we wanted to open with signage and branding that we anticipate rolling out across the rest of the country.”