Panera Bread / poor service and product

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I quite enjoy the food at Panera and generally the ambiance of the restaurants. I've noticed over the last 10 years a general decline in the quality of the experience when I go to Panera. The food I think is still good, however I feel the service has gotten much worse. A feeling that has been once again reinforced this past Sunday (11/19/17).

I went to the Springdale, OH location twice over the weekend due to convenience and quality of the food. Wait times for food both times was at least 10-15 minutes despite not being very busy. I don't know if there is a general inability to attract people to work at Panera that have good worth ethic or general hustle, but I've seen a decline in the quality of employees that are fulfilling food orders. Most of them seem to be tattooed and pierced and moving like they are swimming in molasses. I don't really care about appearance if the service is good. The kid working the sandwich station on Sunday seemed to be having issues constructing sandwiches. This is not a complex task. Most times I order a sandwich that comes with onions, but I request that they not be added. Immediately after ordering I have to go watch them make my sandwich and most times I have to stop them from adding the onions. It is right there on the screen! How tough is it to make a sandwich to order?

On Sunday, I dined in and then ordered a to-go order for a friend. This friend was working at a nearby convention and was relying on me to bring her some lunch. She asked for a chicken salad sandwich on wheat. The order was fulfilled (after 10-15 minutes) and I left to deliver my friend's lunch. When I got there and she opened it up, I saw that 1.) there was very little chicken salad on the sandwich, 2.) it was unsliced, and 3.) the bread used was maybe two thirds the size of a normal Panera sandwich. That's because the kid working the sandwich station used small slices of bread from the extreme end of the loaf that should never be used for sandwiches. For the money paid for this sandwich, it should have been full sized and loaded with chicken salad.

It's pathetic and there is no excuse for it. Panera just gets worse and worse over time. Train your people or pay more so you can get some quality workers. Even the cashiers seemed to be disinterested. I had to tell the girl that my order was "to go" three times because she seemed unable to focus on the fact that she was at work instead of wherever her mind was taking her.

I don't know how many more chances I can give to Panera. It's more than 50% of the time now that my orders have problems.

Nov 20, 2017

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