Panera Bread to start using handprints to greet you by name and suggest menu items

  • Panera Bread will allow customers to link their handprints to loyalty accounts, the company announced. 
  • The technology comes courtesy of Amazon, which has been in hot water over  hand-scanning. 
  • Panera will use handprints to greet customers by name and suggest menu items based on preferences. 

Panera announced its rollout of Amazon One — technology developed by the e-commerce giant that identifies customers using their palms — in the coming months. The restaurant already has deployed the technology at some locations in its headquarter city of St. Louis. 

It allows Panera employees to greet customers by name and suggest menu items based on their preferences, a company press release said Wednesday. More than 52 million people are in the loyalty program, which allows them to order online.

The goal is “frictionless, personalized, and convenient service” for loyal customers, said CEO Niren Chaudhary.

Amazon’s hand-scanning technology at the company’s Amazon Go stores allows customers to enter, shop, and exit a store without checking out with a cashier. Go customers have the option of linking their palm print to their Amazon accounts, or using a credit card or app. 

Now, Panera will be able to use customers’ palms to identify their loyalty membership accounts as well. 

The move is “a natural extension” of the tech-forward tactics, Chaudhary said in the press release. Panera already offers customers self-ordering kiosks, and an ordering and rewards app.

“With one of the largest and most successful loyalty programs in the country, Panera wanted to make it even easier for its guests to access their rewards and have a more customized café experience,” said Dilip Kumar, vice president of Amazon Web Services. 

But Amazon Go’s palm-scanning tech hasn’t been without hiccups. In an ongoing lawsuit in New York City, the company is accused of failing to comply with a city law to disclose tracking and recording biometric data. 

As a result, Amazon placed signs outside its Go stores in New York — where Panera has six locations — informing customers that biometric data is taken if they use the palm scanner. 

The use of Amazon One technology will be optional at Panera Bread, the company stressed, and private data obtained through the new technology will be protected by security controls.