MILFORD >> If you live within eight minutes of Panera Bread at 1627 Boston Post Road, your options for food delivery open up today, as the company launches its first delivery site in Connecticut.

The restaurant is also the first Panera in the state to offer a drive-through.

Panera has for a long time had successful delivery services in other states, said Stefan van Waveren, area operating partner for Panera Bread in Connecticut.

The company has hired eight drivers for the Milford site and by the end of March hopes to have 12-16 drivers, he said.

Other Panera Bread sites in Hartford and Greater New Haven will begin delivering in a few weeks, as soon as enough drivers are hired, he said.

The introduction of the delivery in Connecticut will have a soft rollout until April 24, when a “media blitz,” which includes billboards and television commercials, begins, van Waveren said.

Delivery will be from 10 corporate-owned and 10 franchised “bakery cafes,” as Panera Bread calls the restaurants.

“We are very excited about this initiative and the fact that Milford is the first cafe,” he said. It’s a “unique market,” that until now has had Chinese food and pizza as its only delivery option, he said.

“In the markets where we’ve operated it, it’s very popular.”

By 2018 the hope is to go national, he said.

Van Waveren said the brand seeks to reach people who are too busy or unable to get to the restaurant, such as small businesses and medical offices.

Delivery time is 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

The way it works is that customers download the Panera app, attach their “My Panera” card, which is linked to their credit card, and order; cash is not accepted.

If the customer is outside the eight-minute limit, the app will not offer delivery as an option, he said.

The delivery cost is $3 and there is a minimum of $5, which includes the delivery, meaning a customer could order something as small as a pastry.

He said the eight-minute limit was chosen so customers will have speedy delivery and the food will be fresh and hot, as Panera Bread offers many soups.

Van Waveren said the eight-minute boundary lines for Milford are at about High Street to the west and about at Party City in Orange to the east.

Van Waveren said he lives in Milford, which is out of the eight-minute limit, so he’ll have to pick up his family’s food in person.