LRS was invited to participate in the 2017 Panera Bread Hackathon this year, bringing back a second place trophy and plenty of thought-provoking new ideas. The Panera Bread Hackathon is a growing annual event where Panera vendors are able to meet, quickly code and present innovative concepts to Panera’s senior executives, including their Chief Information Officer, John Meister.
The types of “hacks” that vendors present are wide-ranging. Hacks can tackle processes like how Panera prepares and manages dough distribution, how cafes can reduce paper waste, how to improve the continuity of food from farm to table and more.
This year 11 teams participated in the event, including technology companies like Cisco, Dell and Amazon.
No code could be prepared before the hackathon, according to LRS’ Sean-Michael Daley. “At the hackathon you’re charged with putting together a bunch of disparate technologies. You have to hack them together in order to prove your concept. You can use and modify open source code, but aren’t able to bring in code that has already been perfected.”
On the day of the actual “hack”, participants start working at 6 AM and finally put down their tools by 4 PM, with judges occasionally walking around to observe. They must then be ready to make a seven-minute presentation. “It was all very close, steep competition,” said Daley.
“The Panera Bread Hackathon is inspiring to be a part of and ideas generated there have the potential to be piloted or even implemented in cafés. There are so many cool ideas and you get to really think about what the future of Panera’s service experience looks like,” said Daley.
“There were four levels of awards, and we were extremely excited to receive 2nd place,” said Daley.