No Card Needed: Pay at Panera using your Palm

Have you ever bought something only to realize you did not have your credit/debit card with you? Oops, how embarrassing. But that may be a problem of the past at Panera Bread (at least in St. Louis).

Panera Bread is now testing Amazon’s palm-screening technology at two of its St. Louis restaurants. This means that instead of using cash or charge, just place your palm on the scanner to pay for your meal – and connect to the Panera loyalty program. Panera has long been considered a leader in using technology in its restaurants with more than 2,000 locations and 52 million loyalty members.

While there has been consumer concern about palm-scanning, the positives are that it’s contactless and biometrics give a unique identifier for customers. No two palms (like fingerprints) are identical. Biometric data is also common for consumers who use face ID or fingerprint scanners. Palms provide yet another option.

Amazon’s palm-scanner technology is already being used at its Whole Foods stores in California as well as Amazon Go stores plus a handful of sports arenas such as T-Mobile Park.

How will you pay?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Who has used face ID or fingerprint scanning? What has been their experience.
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team list the positive and negative factors for using palm-screening for consumers? (Can do the same poll for Face ID as well.)
  3. What are the positive and negative factors for businesses?
  4. Show Amazon’s information page about the scanning:
  5. Show video about Panera’s use of palm-scanning:
  6. Also check the site for Amazon one locations in your geography. If there are any, consider having students shop at those locations to try the scanners and get their feedback.
  7. How should Panera explain and market the new scanning?
  8. Have each team develop three different promotional tactics to ease consumer fears about the technology use.

Source:  Panera Break tests Amazon’s palm-scanning technology in St. Louis. (22 March 2023). CNBC.; NPR; The Guardian; The Verge; other news sources.

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