Panera Bread is continuing to expand across the country, this time with a new location possibly coming to Baymeadows at 9485 Baymeadows Rd.
The company received a service availability letter in June to demolish the former home of 5th Elements Indian Restaurant after owners decided to relocate to the St. Johns Town Center, according to Jacksonville Daily Record. Before serving as the home of 5th Elementm, the 4,561-square-foot restaurant was as an Applebees. The company plans to demolish the building and build a 100-seat Panera Bread, likely opening sometime next year. 5th Elements intends to reopen in Town Center in January.
While construction on the project has yet to begin, this location may be a stand-alone restaurant with a drive-thru, a concept the company has been transitioning to in recent years, compared to opening in-line locations in shopping centers. Panera Break announced earlier this year that the company is launching its drive-thru concept after digital sales represented more than 50 percent of total system sales. The new design allows for even faster service. Chipotle has also adopted the concept with its new Chipotlane sites.
“Panera pioneered the idea of digital ordering in the restaurant industry, and for years, our guests have loved the option to order ahead and pick their items up on the Rapid Pick-Up shelf,” Chris Correnti, Senior Vice President of Channels and Guest Experience, said in a press release. “Now we’re extending that convenience to the drive-thru, giving our guests another fast and convenient way to get their favorite Panera meal.”