Panera App Review: Ordering a Rapid-Pickup Meal from your Phone

Panera has good food but do they have a good app? Follow me as I place a mobile order from my car on my iPhone, pick up my order and check if they got everything right. Plus I’ll give you my thoughts on how well Panera’s app works and what to be cautious about.

Video transcript: First off they got my order exactly right. That’s good to know because the last thing you want is to get home and have to go back to get something fixed. So good job there.

I was kind of worried about it though because last time I used the app to place an order I went in to pick it up and there was a note that just said to go up to the register. It turned out they were out of a bunch of the items I had ordered so I had to swap them out which obviously meant it wasn’t a very rapid RapidPickup. But luckily that didn’t happen this time. Just realize that the app may not always be telling the truth as to whether or not they actually have the food you want.

In terms of ordering I found the app was pretty usable overall. I’d give it an 7.5 out of 10 for usability and a 7 for design. It was really easy to browse the menu and find the items I wanted to order. The most persistent problem I ran into was that the app was slow to load in-between menu categories and items, even on WiFi. The worst problem I ran into was when I was trying to add a pick two order: that feature wouldn’t load for several minutes. I saw an annoying apology screen that said the app was currently unavailable while they conducted essential system maintenance and enhancements.

But adding items to your order is super simple as is customizing them. I ordered a Mediterranean Veggie sandwich and switched out the hummus for spicy mustard and took off the cheese and they nailed it.

I also picked up some stuff from the bakery along with a lemonade. Two of the best reasons to head to Panera in the first place.

So there are two things I really liked about the Panera app. First it was really cool to see calorie info in multiple views while browsing the menu and it was great having access to a full nutritional and ingredient breakdown for items so you know exactly what you’re getting into. That’s awesome.

Second I loved using Apple Pay within the app. Switching to the right credit card and paying with the press of a thumb is super convenient. It’s easy to forget the days when you would have had to whip out your credit card and type all the numbers and junk in. This was way better.

So overall would I recommend ordering a RapidPickup meal using the Panera app? I’d say ya, give it a shot. When it’s working right (which seems to be most of the time) it’s so much better than going in and standing in a long line and then waiting around to grab it. Even if you’re eating in the restaurant itself rather than taking it to-go, using the app is the way to go. Just be ready with a plan b in case things don’t go as smoothly as you’d like. But if you’re like me you’ve got a whole folder full of food apps at your fingertips ready to go.

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