How does replacing employees with ordering kiosks at Panera change its break even point?

Photo of an ordering kiosk at Panera

Source: Jonathan Tietz

During 2016, Panera Bread Company (PNRA) is building ordering kiosk centers in its cafes. These ordering kiosks will allow customers to browse nutritional content of its menu items and will allow for personalization of menu items.  Panera has stated that wait times will be shortened and order accuracy will be improved by using this new technology.

Panera expects to realize labor savings from using the ordering kiosks in place of employees.


  1. Are the kiosks mostly a fixed cost or a variable cost? Explain.
  2. Would a Panera’s employee taking orders at the counter be considered to be a fixed cost or a variable cost? Explain.
  3. How does the change to using kiosks to take orders rather than using employees to take orders change Panera’s break even point? Why?

Instructor Resources

These resources are provided to give the instructor flexibility for use of Accounting in the Headlines articles in the classroom. The blog posting itself can be assigned via a link to this site OR by distributing the student handout below. Alternatively, the PowerPoint file below contains a bullet point overview of the article and the discussion questions.

  • Student handout (pdf) (word) (contains entire blog posting + discussion questions)
  • PowerPoint file (brief article overview + discussion questions)

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

About Dr. Wendy Tietz, CPA, CMA, CSCA, CGMA

Dr. Wendy Tietz is a professor of accounting at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, USA. She is also a textbook author with Pearson Education.

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