Pros: 65% discount on meals up to $16, amazing coworkers
Cons: 30 minute breaks, some obnoxious customers, odd roundabout policies
In the year that I've worked at Panera, there have certainly been ups and downs. My coworkers were always fantastic, and over time have grown to become some of my closest friends. Every few months or so we have team meetings where we all talk about the new items and new policies while joking around and having a good time. I wouldn't trade some of the times I've had with my coworkers for the world.
As far as the work goes, it was generally the same as any other foodservice job; Friendly customer service with a smile, The customer's always right, and similar ideologies. And while those are all well and good, the sheer volume of customers coming in every day without fail are more than enough to whittle away at your spirit as the months fly by. There is always a breakfast, lunch, and dinner rush every day, with about thirty minutes to an hour in between each. Quite often in the summer months, we would have rushes of people come in between 2:00 and 3:00 PM, right when our morning crew is fixing to leave and our night crew doesn't come in for another half our or so. This is frustrating, to say the least.
The main takeaways from this job:
You will never get off on time. Ever. It just won't happen.
There are regulars. Lots of them. And they come in every day, sometimes several times a day, all without fail. This is both a good and bad thing. Some of our regulars I would look forward to seeing, and I would have a good time connecting with them when they came in. But some are a different story. I won't go into further detail.
No matter what job you're assigned, be it cashiering – more... or preparing food on the line or serving people in the dining room, it's going to be emotionally draining. But you can always take a few minutes in the back to recharge your batteries. All employees get unlimited free soda fountain drinks during their shifts. This can be a life saver.
The customers are going to break you down, but your coworkers will be right behind you to build you back up again.
Also, 65% discount on meals every shift is really nice. Panera food is equally delicious and expensive. – less