ST. LOUIS — Panera Bread on Nov. 18 opened its first bakery-café featuring a next-generation restaurant design in Ballwin, Mo. Features include new drive-thru and digital-ordering options.

“Our new bakery-cafe is designed with the best of what makes Panera unique — a warm, inviting environment that delights our guests, and the smell of freshly baked bread coupled with tech-enabled convenience,” said Eduardo Luz, chief brand and concept officer for St. Louis-based Panera Bread. “We’re proud to launch this new design just outside of our hometown of St. Louis. In fact, we couldn’t think of a better place to showcase our vision for the future than the place where we started.”

The restaurant features a double-lane drive-thru with one lane dedicated to rapid pick-up service. New contactless dine-in and delivery includes updated ordering kiosks, automatic loyalty identity and a fully digitized menu both in the café and in the drive-thru. Contactless ordering allows customers to order meals from their phone for dine-in, rapid pick-up, drive-thru or delivery. Mobile notifications tell customers when their food is ready, which minimalizes interaction with cashiers, kiosks, paper receipts or pagers.

Panera also has moved the bakery-café ovens to be in view of customers and refreshed its brand identity. A new “mother bread” logo is a nod to Panera Bread’s sourdough starter, which is more than 30 years old. All of Panera’s sourdough bread is still made from that starter today.

“We undertook the development of the next-generation Panera bakery-cafe with a relentless focus on guest experience,” said Rob Sopkin, senior vice president, chief development officer of Panera Bread. “Every step of the guest journey was scrutinized to find ways to make it more intuitive and convenient, and the result represents the very best of our design and development teams that we are proud to open today.”