On Monday, Panera Bread announced it would move ahead at a brisk pace to expand its delivery services in more of its cafes.
The sandwich maker announced that it will hire up to 10,000 employees before the end of 2017 to help with its initiative. Close to 75% of the new employees will be hired as delivery drivers and the remaining 25% will work in the different cafes, said Panera President Blaine Hurst.
Panera already has rolled out its delivery service to over 15% of the chain, including 20% of its locations that are company owned. Before the end of 2017, it is hoping to expand its delivery to between 35% and 40% of its locations system-wide.
Hurst is expecting each café to make new hires of between 7 and 12 drivers and in-café staff. He also said it would cost each café approximately $25,000 to add the delivery capabilities, of which the majority would be for hiring and training of labor.
Panera is being acquired at this time by JAB Holding a privately held company for a price of $7.5 billion.
Drivers are to be vetted by Panera, said Hurst. Insurance and driving records as well as vehicles will be inspected before drivers can be hired then certified.
Hurst said drivers’ vehicles would be inspected regularly and drivers would be compensated for mileage.
Through using the Uber-style method, the sandwich maker does not need to invest in vehicles. However, by screening drivers itself, the company has more control over its customer’s experience.
Panera also has created a new tracking system for orders that allows its customers to see their expected meal arrival time, a map of the progress of the driver and a photo of the driver delivering their food.
The minimum purchase for delivery will be $5 and the fee to delivery will be approximately $3.
Panera tested delivery services initially through third-party services to bring its food to its customers. However, the company was not satisfied with results from those tests.
Instead, Panera is using its own team members so it can offer accurate and reliable service to clients, said Hurst.
The company president said Panera could not find a partner for delivery that could give Panera delivery at the scale that it currently is at.
In addition, deliver services that are third-party can charge as much as 5% to 30% to companies, and that is not what Panera wanted, said Hurst.