US-based franchisee operator Flynn Group has partnered with Zipline, an autonomous delivery system, to offer drone deliveries from select Panera Bread locations in the greater Seattle metro area.

Customers of Panera Bread will soon be able to place orders through the Zipline app and get their orders delivered through drone.

A Zipline spokesperson in an email sent to Restaurant Dive confirmed that these deliveries are slated to commence as early as next year.

Flynn Group founder, chair, and CEO Greg Flynn said: “We’re excited to take the guest experience we provide at our Panera Bread restaurants to new heights, literally, thanks to our partnership with Zipline.

“Delivery delays, especially in metro areas like Seattle, are unpredictable; however, utilising Zipline’s state-of-the-art drone technology, we’re addressing those challenges and significantly reducing the wait times from when orders are placed, to when guests can enjoy them.”

The partnership extends beyond Panera Bread, as Zipline has also joined forces with Jet’s Pizza to initiate drone deliveries in Detroit.

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Jet’s Pizza customers will benefit from Zipline’s Platform 2 (P2) drone, capable of delivering two large Detroit-style pizzas and sides. Jet’s Pizza boasts more than 400 outlets across 22 states.

Additionally, Zipline has been selected by Memorial Hermann Health System for the delivery of speciality prescriptions and medical devices directly to patients’ homes.

Zipline will also facilitate the transport of medicine, medical products, and lab samples between the health system’s facilities in Houston, Texas, US.

Zipline is set to deploy P2 to serve more than 30 million people across ten states in the US in the coming years.

The tech company also noted that it has established itself as the world’s largest autonomous delivery system, achieving a milestone of one million commercial drone deliveries.

It added that its zero-emission autonomous drones have now flown more than 70 million commercial autonomous miles across four continents and delivered over ten million products.

Zipline co-founder and Software head Ryan Oksenhorn said: “Over the past decade, we’ve worked hard to build a system that scaled to one million paid customer deliveries. In the near future, I believe that one million deliveries will be unremarkable as we reach a million deliveries in a year, in a month, in a day.

“Ten years from now, I think clean, reliable autonomous delivery of goods and services will be available to everyone.”

Last month, DoorDash partnered with Alphabet’s Wing to start a drone delivery pilot programme for fast-food chain Wendy’s in the US.

The move followed the success of DoorDash and Wing’s joint pilot programme in Australia, which began in November 2022 and has since expanded to three locations and 60 participating merchants.

The US pilot was launched in Christiansburg, Virginia, where local customers can order from Wendy’s through the DoorDash marketplace for drone delivery.