Amazon teams with Panera in first restaurant deal for tech giant’s palm-scanning payment tech – GeekWire

Amazon One palm-scanning technology will allow Panera associates to greet MyPanera loyalty program members by name and provide a more personalized experience to those cafe customers. (Amazon Photo)

Amazon is bringing its Amazon One palm-scanning technology to Panera Bread, the fast-casual restaurant chain with more than 2,100 locations across the U.S.

Panera will be the first national restaurant chain to offer a new “loyalty linking” capability through Amazon One. More than 52 million customers who are members of the MyPanera loyalty program will gain access to a more personalized experience at the bakery/cafes, and be able to pay for soups, sandwiches, salads, pastries and more with their palm.

Amazon launched the Amazon One technology in September 2020 at its first Amazon Go store in Seattle. The biometric technology connects a user’s palm scan to their credit card, and is used to allow customers to enter some establishments and pay for goods by hovering a hand over a special palm reader.

The technology is now available at numerous Amazon physical retail locations, such as select Amazon Go, Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market stores. Amazon has also licensed the tech to third parties, and it’s used at retailers in airports and at sports stadiums including Seattle’s T-Mobile Park, Climate Pledge Arena and Lumen Field.

An Amazon One palm scan allows for entry into Big Chicken, a store that also uses Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle. (GeekWire File Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

Dilip Kumar, vice president of AWS Applications, said in a blog post Wednesday that the partnership with Panera is significant because it solves a major pain point for restaurant and retail operators trying to get customers to sign up for and redeem rewards from loyalty programs.

  • Amazon One users can link their MyPanera account to their Amazon One ID online or in person at the restaurant.
  • First-time Amazon One users can pre-enroll online and add their credit or debit card and mobile number. They can complete the enrollment process at a participating Paneraby scanning their palm and the QR code they receive during the pre-enrollment process.
  • Once enrolled, a Panera customer scans their palm on an Amazon One device to pull up their MyPanera account information for a Panera associate, who can greet the guest by name, remind them of available rewards, and take their order. After the order is placed, the guest can scan their palm a second time to process payment.

“We are excited to deploy Amazon One in our restaurants because we want to deliver a frictionless and personalized loyalty experience for our guests,” said Niren Chaudhary, CEO of Panera Bread, in a statement.

Panera competes against other establishments and fast-casual restaurants such as Starbucks, Chipotle, Au Bon Pain, Applebee’s and more.

Amazon One will initially be available at two Panera locations in the St. Louis area where Panera is headquartered: 14123 Clayton Road in Town and Country, Mo. and 12226 St. Charles Rock Road, Bridgeton, Mo.

In a fight against what one group called “the spread of biometric surveillance tools like palm scans and facial recognition,” musicians and activists managed to block the implementation of Amazon One at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado last year.

On the Amazon One site, Amazon says the technology “was designed in accordance with Amazon’s long-standing privacy policies and controls, and is protected by on-device and cloud-based security measures.”

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