Panera Bread / I have had a very horrible experience
I have worked for Panera Bread for about a year, and I have had a very horrible experience. First of all, the employees are treated like crap. The managers do what they want, when they want and break any rules they set down for their employees (i.e. eating in the back of the restaurant, smoking while taking out the trash, talking on cell phones, listening to MP3 players while working, etc). I tried to call the corporate store and make an anonymous complaint, but nothing happened, so i submitted another one a month later with my name, and again, no repercussions to them, but I was forced to take a week off while corporate "investigated". Then, when i returned, I was made to scrub floor stains with a Brillo pad and toothbrush for my next 3 shifts. But I was not too upset with this because I have grown used to doing all kinds of ### JOBs while working there. I used to work as a server for a nice sports bar, but I realized that I would have different responsibilities while working at Paneras (i thought it would include making food or doing dishes or something of that nature) . But when I was hired as a CASHier, I had no thought I would spend most of my time scrubbing out the insides of ovens, cleaning out clogged or dirty toilets and bathrooms, scraping off gum (and other substances) stains on the floor and inside refrigerators, and even scrubbing out smelly garbage bins. If I would have known that I was going to be doing janitorial work, then I would have applied as a janitor. These intense cleanings usually all happened near the end of the month when the inspections were, and the rest of the month the store was FILTHY. Also, the sanitary conditions are HORRIBLE, food is dropped and served (they joke Paneras goes by the 10 second rule), food is additionally kept way past expiration dates and most things that cannot be used one day are kept and reheated and served indefinitely. But that was all accepted evil.
What finally made me leave their employment was the fact that they NEVER kept to their employee's schedules. They changed people's schedules randomly and many times forgot to tell the person whose shift they changed. They would let their favored employees show up late or leave early without any punishment, while I got written up the first time I was late (I was 15 min late because I got pulled over on my way there, and I even called them and told them I'd be a few minutes late). They rarely let people go on break and if you were lucky enough to get one, they would chew you out if you clocked back in after 31 minutes instead of the 30 min break they allow. Also, like other restaurants, the managers have to count out the CASHiers at the end of each person's shift before they can leave, but it was nearly impossible to get them to do it. The managers would try to dismiss you between each other, and if you could finally manage to get someone to do it, they would constantly be late. I know that this thing happens, but when it becomes an every day thing, it is hard for employees to have a life. For example, I had to work until 3, and I needed to leave on time to pick up my cousin from his soccer practice so I let my managers know when I came in that I needed to leave on time, but the managers all were "too busy" to count out my drawer when the time came, and when I told them I NEEDED to leave asap, they told me "its your cousin or your JOB". I can know that things get busy (and my store was very busy), but I finished up leaving work at 5 (2 hours after I was supposed to leave). This kind of thing happened so often that I got used to plotting on leaving an hour late. Also, when it was time to close and clean up at night, managers told employees to clock out when the store closed and then they had to clean up (usually for about an hour) after they had clocked out. Most of the other employees are college kids and don't know that the managers are doing a lot of illegal things. Other employees and myself have submitted complaints to corporate and again, nothing.
All this crap was considered normal practice at Paneras, and if you refused anything the managers said, you were threatened with termination. After about a year of slave work and numerous complaints without any resolve, I quit. I have submit many more complaints and I hope that the company gets their stuff together before they get in serious distress. I hope this will reach people that are thinking of applying there so they can realize the horrible work and terrible employee treatment that Paneras lets happen in their restaurants.
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