Panera, Safe Queue Apps Help Shoppers Avoid Long Lines

Will standing on lines at restaurants and retailers be the “old normal” once fears about COVID-19 have quieted?

QSRs like Panera Bread and the creator of an app called Safe Queue aren’t waiting to find out.

Panera Curbside—the chain’s latest extension of its ecommerce ecosystem—is a geo-fence-enabled service that further streamlines the process of ordering ahead and picking up on-site.

Customers using the MyPanera app or website can choose Panera Curbside, indicate the make, model and color of their vehicle, and their order will be brought to them once they reach the parking lot. Those who don’t opt in to automatic delivery can tap “I’m here” in the app or their order confirmation email to receive their order.

“In the new world as it emerges, we are focused on how we can best service our customers and meet them where they are,” Panera CEO Niren Chaudhary said in a statement.



By mid-May, ecommerce was 65% of Panera’s revenues.

Separately, Safe Queue was created by California software developer Dave Chura, who is one of three winners of IBM’s COVID-19-focused Call for Code competition. Safe Queue is a mobile app intended to replace physical lines at restaurants, retailers and other public places with on-demand “virtual lines.”

In this video, Chura explains how the Safe Queue app can show when users are within 1,000 feet of an establishment that has agreed to create virtual lines. They can remain in their vehicle and receive notifications that end with “You are next in line” before entering the store.

Safe Queue app users will remain anonymous.

“You don’t have to sign up. You don’t have to register. You don’t have to provide any information at all,” Chura tells Marketing Daily.

Safe Queue isn’t yet available for download from Apple’s App Store or Google Play, but Chura expects it to be shortly.

“We submitted it to the Google Play and Apple App Store yesterday. Once it’s approved, which we hope will happen by the end of this week, we have a number of beta test business customers that will start using it the following week,” says Chura.

Citing confidentiality, Chura declined to identify businesses that have signed on for the beta test.

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