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Panera: Avoid the Wait, Text it in!

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After spending most of my Saturday on homework, I went to Panera Bread in White Plains with a friend for dinner. I was not planning to develop a blog topic at dinner, but as usual I did. I am beginning to become aware of what is happening with communication around me in order to add it to this blog, and to be honest, I am quickly becoming addicted to writing blogs through critical thinking of daily events. Findings of fact from tonight’s dinner: This academic course is very relevant, even at a table in Panera Bread.

There was a table tent on the table that said “Avoid the Wait, Text it in.” Intrigued by what Panera Bread and text messaging could possibly have in common, I just had to read more. The table tent was advertising a new way to order your food at Panera. Instead of coming into Panera to order, or calling in your order, you can now text your order to the Panera Bread in White Plains, NY.

To many people, this may merely seem like a convenience, but to me it’s a “mainstream message/order” using an “alternative media.” (It could be debated if text messaging has become “mainstream media” today, but that is a debate for another blog.) It also shows that in 2011 people are totally dependent on text messaging, even when it comes to ordering food for pick-up. I know that many people do not talk on the phone anymore, but I thought when ordering take out, it was still common to call and talk to an actual human being. I guess not! I also question if this new idea shows how fast-paced our life has become, that we cannot even pick up the phone and call to place a food order.

I have to admit that I find it interesting that a restaurant like Panera Bread is trying this sort of concept and I am personally interested to see if it really works. I am a bit hesitant to send a food order using text messaging and question whether I would actually receive the correct food order in the end, but obviously Panera Bread has a plan. I predict that people, especially college students in the area, will use this option and that possibly Panera will be recognized for being one of the first restaurants to consider using an “alternative media” method to receive “mainstream messages” like food orders.

However, I do question if our society has become too dependent on text messaging. I still remember when I had a cell phone without a text messaging plan and was not allowed to text message…I’m not sure how I survived. These days I use text messaging to communicate with friends and family at a distance, several co-workers, and peers. Aside from my text messaging use, we are now seeing a society that is joining the text messaging community at a younger age than ever before. There are 4 and 5 year old kids that have cell phones with text messaging plans. Personally, I feel we have become too dependent on text messaging therefore loosing face-to-face communication skills and making the pace of our lives even faster, but I too text message.

In this case, I recognize that text messaging has now become a business strategy. Think about it: if you are Panera and you want to reach your target audience and the majority of your target audience has been overcome by the use of media, then you must adapt your services to your audience. This is just what Panera has done, right or wrong, good or bad; people will now be ordering food via text message.

In addition to our heavy dependence on text messaging, our lives have gotten faster and faster. I sometimes feel as though the days are spinning out of control. Aside from my internship and academic courses, I am pulled in so many directions by the media…email, social media, text messaging, and of course, my newest addiction to blogging. Don’t get me wrong, I love media and I appreciate being surrounded by the connections that media offers, but I fear that at this point it will never slow down enough for me to catch my breath. There is now no need to be in an environment that you can make a phone call, or even to speak to a human being when ordering food from Panera. Instead you can be working, running, on the train, in the library, listening to your IPOD while ordering your food from Panera. You will never have to wait at a Panera location again. Thank goodness because if you had to wait you might have to slow down and communicate face-to-face with other human beings! NEVER!

I’m not sure how I feel about ordering my food via text messaging, but I do know that we have become dependent on media and technology, love our fast pace lives that obviously can’t get fast enough for us, and that Panera is taking advantage of a society hooked on media…and including the media in their business strategy.

Will you place your next food order for Panera Bread via text message? If you want to, text your order to 914-356-0420, receive an order number, and pick up at the express window at Panera Bread, White Plains, NY.

One comment

  1. This isn’t totally the same thing but papa john’s has an app for the iPhone, I’m not sure about other phones, where you can order your food instead of calling it in. I don’t know why I was surprised to find this out because it actually seems like a really great business strategy just like the text in orders for Panera Bread.

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