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How Panera Bread Baked The Efficiency of Automation Into An AP Process That Keeps Their Bills Paid During The Pandemic

May 12, 2020

Panera Bread Company is the fast-casual restaurant with healthy food options and a bakery we have all come to know and love. Unfortunately, their IT finance department’s process for dealing with invoices and doling out payments was less desirable.

So, Panera turned to AvidXchange to assist with things behind the counter—streamlining their accounts payable processes. (Don’t worry, no changes were made to the Roasted Turkey Avocado BLT.)

Paperless AP Saved Time and Money, So Panera’s Finance Team Could Focus on More Strategic Work

Prior to using AvidXchange, Panera was not only inundated with delicious soups and salads, but also with loose paper invoices. Gary Weintraub, IT manager of vendor relations and finance, says the old system was tedious and time-consuming.

“We received invoices, printed them off and put packets together for people to sign and approve. Then, we had to manually key all that in.

“A five-person team was dedicated to handle invoices each day—and the paper-based system required them to be in the office to get the job done. It was just a lot.”

After recognizing they needed a change to keep up with their growing business, Panera implemented AvidXchange Purchase-to-Pay to organize and manage their invoices digitally, saving them valuable time and resources.

“Now, only two of those original five employees are processing invoices, while the other three have been repurposed to more strategic areas of the business,” says Weintraub. “That in itself has been a huge time savings and cost savings in reallocating our resources.”

Saving time and money has been a huge benefit for the Panera team, but an area where they have also found immense value is in the constant customer support.

“Everything has been so easy to ­­use, there’s always someone available to help when we need it. Even on New Year’s Day this past year we were experiencing user error and needed assistance—we were helped immediately, and the issue was resolved. That’s how available they are –someone’s there to help all the time, even on New Year’s!”

Customer Support and Remote Access from Automation Help Panera Process Payments Amid The Coronavirus Pandemic

AvidXchange isn’t only an asset during the day-to-day inconveniences, but also during a global pandemic. In the face of the recent COVID-19 outbreak, the Panera team has been able to work remotely and continue business as usual.

“Without AvidXchange we would really be stuck,” said Weintraub. “The two people on my team that process invoices worked from home even before this pandemic, so not too much changed in that regard. Now, our entire company is having to work remote and we’re still able to keep up with everything like nothing happened.”

The unified platform holds the team accountable, while allowing Weintruab to assist with and monitor daily tasks.

“I’m able to keep up with everything everyone is doing and see what’s in their queues. And, if there are any questions, we’re able to pull everything up and see exactly what they’re seeing.”

Weintraub recommends an automation solution to any organization inundated with manual tasks. AvidXchange Purchase-to-Pay has allowed the team to better allocate resources, realize greater flexibility, and stay prepared for emergences that require a remote work setting.

If you’re interested in freshening up your accounts payable processes like Panera Bread, check out more information about AvidXchange’s accounts payable automation solutions or schedule a live demo today.

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