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1,552 reviews

Panera Bread Employer Reviews

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Fun workplace and productive
Shift Supervisor (Former Employee), Brookline, MAJuly 15, 2014
An amazing place to better yourself, and build your career.
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Best first job
Service Associate (Current Employee), ConnecticutJuly 14, 2014
Pros: employee discount, great training program, willingness to hire minors, amazing coworkers, extremely flexible scheduling
Cons: lack of communication, rush times are fast paced, rarely give raises
When I first went through training, called Planet Bread, they said, "this will be the best first job you could have experienced. Once you leave us and go to another job, you'll realize how spoiled you actually were!" I know this is true even though I'm still employed. We are spoiled, although there are some negative aspects to the job.

I would like – more... to first say that I started when the cafe FIRST opened, so we were all new. If you have this opportunity, I highly recommend it! There are big differences between opening a cafe and starting in one that has already been up and running.

We started out with training, which lasted a week or so. The hours were non-negotiable (you could either come morning or night) and as a junior in high school (3 towns over) at the time, it was extremely difficult. One con, we were not compensated for this time. We did, however get a crazy amount of free food to take home (it was the food we practiced making).

Once you get that out of the way and are opened about a year, you go from staffing over 4 pages of employees to about 1.5 pages (about 30 total). By this time, everyone has gotten to know each other very well and we all act like family. This is where the opening a cafe aspect comes in to help because we all started at the same level.

They (the managers) try to cross-train as much as possible. This may look like a typical cashier getting trained on salads on a slow afternoon. That's always a fun way to switch it up and can be a pro. Every service person (includes cashier and barista) must learn dining room at some point. This is one of the hardest jobs, I think. This includes constantly cleaning tables and sweeping (carpeted) floors, keeping everything completely stocked, changing coffees every hour, and in my case, running food out to tables. My cafe was one of the test cafes that decided to do table service so every order needs to be brought out to the person's table within 6.5 minutes of the order being placed. If you're new, they'll most likely stick you in the dining room for a while until you learn the ropes. That is probably the most difficult your job will get as a service employee. However, line associates sometimes have to unload the truck when it comes which can take hours, depending on your cafe's volume and standing in the walk in (fridge) for hours at a time.

This job teaches you amazing customer service skills. We are reminded over and over again to do practically whatever it takes to make that customer happy before they walk out those doors to go home. Sometimes, this includes giving them a free cookie if their order was messed up and sometimes it may include a free meal. For example, if they have a to-go order and it has taken too long, offer them a free soda while they wait. If they don't like their sandwich, absolutely not a problem to get them a brand new one, whichever they would like. This is all part of the job. You must also be sincere for this part of it because if you sound like you're annoyed and offering them a free cookie, they'll think you're just trying to get them to leave. But if you really are sincere, and not just acting, they will see that you really do care and want to fix the mistake. We value that a customer will be just as pleased if a problem is properly corrected than if there were no problem at all. If you couldn't tell, we take customer service very seriously!

One con though, is the management. The individuals aren't bad (you will have that one manager who makes you dread your shift, though). The lack of communication between the managers is the issue. I'm not sure how often they are all in contact with each other but it shows that it isn't enough. Just today, there was a scheduling mix up at my cafe that I had already settled with one manager and the manager on duty today called me, totally clueless to the problem. Overall, the managers are very understanding and treat you like family. They recognize strengths and help you work towards fixing your weaknesses. We often get pins for having great service and during our evaluations (every 6 months), they go over what you are doing great at and what you can fix. Motivation is really good here, including sales contests (whoever can upsell the most gets a free meal/shirt/gift certificate), and sometimes our manager will buy us all Chinese food on a saturday night shift to let us know that we're working hard. At my cafe, we are having a huge cookout this month for all of our hard work and staying a "safe cafe" (not having any injuries for an entire year... we get compensated for this) The amount of motivation is a pro.

As far as advancement goes, if you want to move up, you will. Work for it and they will surely notice.

Employee discount is 65% in my location, which is pretty good. I've heard of fast food places giving only 10% off. My location's off duty discount is 15%!

One really nice thing that Panera has is called Helping Hands. It is an organization that it funded by employees. You can choose to have some of your paycheck go into a fund to help your fellow employees in need (I donate $1 every paycheck). This really helps a lot of people. I personally know one person who was homeless when he got his first interview here and the organization set him up with an affordable apartment. I also know one woman who couldn't afford her rent and was losing her apartment and the organization paid her rent for a few months, as well as giving her food. It really is like a huge family.

Now that I am almost 18, and the youngest employed since we've opened, everyone is sad to see me go off to college across the country and they are throwing me a birthday/going away party. If that doesn't show you how the employees really are, then I don't know what does. – less
Job Work/Life Balance
Compensation/Benefits
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Best first job
Service Associate (Current Employee), ConnecticutJuly 14, 2014
Pros: employee discount, great training program, willingness to hire minors, amazing coworkers, extremely flexible scheduling
Cons: lack of communication, rush times are fast paced, rarely give raises
When I first went through training, called Planet Bread, they said, "this will be the best first job you could have experienced. Once you leave us and go to another job, you'll realize how spoiled you actually were!" I know this is true even though I'm still employed. We are spoiled, although there are some negative aspects to the job.

I would like – more... to first say that I started when the cafe FIRST opened, so we were all new. If you have this opportunity, I highly recommend it! There are big differences between opening a cafe and starting in one that has already been up and running.

We started out with training, which lasted a week or so. The hours were non-negotiable (you could either come morning or night) and as a junior in high school (3 towns over) at the time, it was extremely difficult. One con, we were not compensated for this time. We did, however get a crazy amount of free food to take home (it was the food we practiced making).

Once you get that out of the way and are opened about a year, you go from staffing over 4 pages of employees to about 1.5 pages (about 30 total). By this time, everyone has gotten to know each other very well and we all act like family. This is where the opening a cafe aspect comes in to help because we all started at the same level.

They (the managers) try to cross-train as much as possible. This may look like a typical cashier getting trained on salads on a slow afternoon. That's always a fun way to switch it up and can be a pro. Every service person (includes cashier and barista) must learn dining room at some point. This is one of the hardest jobs, I think. This includes constantly cleaning tables and sweeping (carpeted) floors, keeping everything completely stocked, changing coffees every hour, and in my case, running food out to tables. My cafe was one of the test cafes that decided to do table service so every order needs to be brought out to the person's table within 6.5 minutes of the order being placed. If you're new, they'll most likely stick you in the dining room for a while until you learn the ropes. That is probably the most difficult your job will get as a service employee. However, line associates sometimes have to unload the truck when it comes which can take hours, depending on your cafe's volume and standing in the walk in (fridge) for hours at a time.

This job teaches you amazing customer service skills. We are reminded over and over again to do practically whatever it takes to make that customer happy before they walk out those doors to go home. Sometimes, this includes giving them a free cookie if their order was messed up and sometimes it may include a free meal. For example, if they have a to-go order and it has taken too long, offer them a free soda while they wait. If they don't like their sandwich, absolutely not a problem to get them a brand new one, whichever they would like. This is all part of the job. You must also be sincere for this part of it because if you sound like you're annoyed and offering them a free cookie, they'll think you're just trying to get them to leave. But if you really are sincere, and not just acting, they will see that you really do care and want to fix the mistake. We value that a customer will be just as pleased if a problem is properly corrected than if there were no problem at all. If you couldn't tell, we take customer service very seriously!

One con though, is the management. The individuals aren't bad (you will have that one manager who makes you dread your shift, though). The lack of communication between the managers is the issue. I'm not sure how often they are all in contact with each other but it shows that it isn't enough. Just today, there was a scheduling mix up at my cafe that I had already settled with one manager and the manager on duty today called me, totally clueless to the problem. Overall, the managers are very understanding and treat you like family. They recognize strengths and help you work towards fixing your weaknesses. We often get pins for having great service and during our evaluations (every 6 months), they go over what you are doing great at and what you can fix. Motivation is really good here, including sales contests (whoever can upsell the most gets a free meal/shirt/gift certificate), and sometimes our manager will buy us all Chinese food on a saturday night shift to let us know that we're working hard. At my cafe, we are having a huge cookout this month for all of our hard work and staying a "safe cafe" (not having any injuries for an entire year... we get compensated for this) The amount of motivation is a pro.

As far as advancement goes, if you want to move up, you will. Work for it and they will surely notice.

Employee discount is 65% in my location, which is pretty good. I've heard of fast food places giving only 10% off. My location's off duty discount is 15%!

One really nice thing that Panera has is called Helping Hands. It is an organization that it funded by employees. You can choose to have some of your paycheck go into a fund to help your fellow employees in need (I donate $1 every paycheck). This really helps a lot of people. I personally know one person who was homeless when he got his first interview here and the organization set him up with an affordable apartment. I also know one woman who couldn't afford her rent and was losing her apartment and the organization paid her rent for a few months, as well as giving her food. It really is like a huge family.

Now that I am almost 18, and the youngest employed since we've opened, everyone is sad to see me go off to college across the country and they are throwing me a birthday/going away party. If that doesn't show you how the employees really are, then I don't know what does. – less
Job Work/Life Balance
Compensation/Benefits
Job Security/Advancement
Management
Job Culture
Relaxed, fun enviornment
Assistant Manager (Current Employee), West Des Moines, IAJuly 14, 2014
Pros: relaxed
Cons: no work-life balance
Great training schedule and program, I have learned how Panera works.
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relaxed enviroment with really good food
Associate (Former Employee), Fayetteville, NCJuly 13, 2014
Pros: discounts of the food
Cons: food is expinsive and costomers offend reminded us
Making sandwiches, and salads, in a professional and timely manner. Prepping ingredients for said sandwiches and salads. Engaging with the customers to see that they are comfortable and have what they need to enjoy the “Panera” experience.
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Fast paced and nice work environment
Cashier/Food Runner/Dining Room (Current Employee), San Antonio, TXJuly 11, 2014
Lunch rush is pretty busy, most other parts of the day are pretty uneventful. I find myself looking for more stuff to do rather than needing stuff to be done.
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Panera Bread
Hourly Associate (Former Employee), Mishawaka, INJuly 11, 2014
Pros: discount food
Cons: management was awful
Management was terrible, treated employees like animals. Accused employees of stealing. Never got out on time; always stayed either 30-60 minutes after scheduled shift was over. Did not understand that education came first.
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Great Work environment
Cashier (Former Employee), Duluth, GAJuly 9, 2014
Management was a bit lacking, a lot of the time no one knew which manager was on the clock v. off the clock. Customers were always in a good mood upon entry/exit of the store.
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high turnover
cook, dishwasher, drive-thru, cashier (Former Employee), Carmel, INJuly 8, 2014
Pros: 65% discount when you work
Cons: only once a day and only on days you work
this company has a horribly high turnover rate. management is very rude and inconsiderate
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Great Company
Cashier/Barista (Associate Trainer) (Former Employee), Atlanta, GAJuly 8, 2014
Panera Bread is a great company to work for. we are all a family.
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Disappointing business model.
Associate Trainer (Former Employee), Schenectady, NYJuly 8, 2014
Worked there happily for around three years. Most of the staff that I worked with were liquidated when management changed hands.
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My Co-workers
Training Associate (Former Employee), Indianapolis, INJuly 8, 2014
I loved this environment. Everyone was so nice and respectful and made me so comfortable.
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Not a bad company to start with
Assistant Manager (Former Employee), Willoughby, OHJuly 8, 2014
Pros: free food
Cons: long hours
The company itself is a good company to work for. Hard to advance, upper management is very harsh.
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friendly
Sales Cashier (Former Employee), Darien, ILJuly 3, 2014
It was a great place too work, the customers were the best there just weren't enough hrs
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Very accomodating to the hard workers.
Associate Customer Service Representative (Current Employee), Leesburg, VAJuly 3, 2014
Pros: flexible schedule, employee discounts
Cons: occasional thin staffing, product shortages
Management rewards hard work, and that is all one could ask for. The hard part comes when forced to work shorthanded, but that is true in most businesses.
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Fun place to work in
Shift Supervisor (Former Employee), Miami, FLJuly 3, 2014
Quick paced and sense of urgency is required. The job is exactly what you'd expect from an entry level food industry. Hardest part I would have to say would be having to engage customers on a consistent basis but even then it's not overwhelming.
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Friendly Staff, great first job, decent training (sometimes)
Hourly Associate/Trainer November (Former Employee), Bothell, WAJuly 3, 2014
Pros: discounted lunch, friendly atmosphere
Cons: close to minimum wage, management can be unreliable sometimes
I started off as an hourly associate and was to become the main prep cook combined with dishwashing afterwords. The first shift everyone takes is a dining room shift, you serve people their food, bus their tables for them, and hourly keep rotating four batches of hot coffee. Then I was asked after becoming a handy prepper to choose between cooking on – more... the line or cashier, i chose cooking first
became a trainer and was learning how to cashier before I left.
A typical day in Prep/Dishwasher- Calculate the amount of food on the bars, how much back up you have in the walk in, and then based on the par you figure out how much produce you will have to prepare. You then have to put the fresh stock of produce away in the walk-in; this had to be done in a "First In First Out" style so organization was key. Next you'd begin the days work based off your count from earlier. Take your 30 minute break and wash dishes for almost the rest of your shift until the end when you move frozen meat into the walk in to thaw overnight.
I learned quite a few things, it was my first job and I felt welcome and Panera helped me find more confidence in myself. I not so much learned but I picked up a better work ethic which I find just as important. Also I improved my customer service skills, as well as how to handle employees. I felt honored they moved me up so quickly but I had put the work into it, nonetheless it was nice to feel they saw what I put into their business.
Got along with my managers very well. They were fair, never expected too much, and one thing I liked was they prefered for you to act on your own make a mistake as long as it's not too costly. If you learned from your mistake that is what mattered.
My co-workers were mostly great, a wide variety of different characters walking in and out but I still talk to some today.
The hardest part of Panera for me just being my first job I felt a little pressured to succeed but that could have been more my own pressure than Panera's. It really wasn't that difficult, I didn't always love being the guy they called when the more lazy or unreliable folk called out. And the pay wasn't very good, $9.50 per hour to start in prep or cashier. $10.50 for being a line cook and not great raises.
The most enjoyable part for me were the people I worked with, I had a great crowd of people around me who could stay focused and finish their jobs while still talking and getting along with one another. Another thing I will say again was that they notice when someone puts in consistent hard work, I moved up to being a trainer in under six months. – less
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A fun workplace with beautiful environment and appealing atmosphere
Associate Trainer (Current Employee), Mount Olive, NJJuly 2, 2014
Pros: huge discount at your own meal, you can also get an associate's certificate for your family too
Cons: you sometimes get your break an hour after you clock in.
Panera Bread is a great company. They are also flexible on hours. I learned how to be responsible and productive. Great job for beginners. The management always listen on what you suggest about the company. My co-workers are team player and fun to be work with. The hardest part of the job is to handle multiple task at the same time, but in order to – more... do that, time management is needed and I learned to practice it while at work. The most enjoyable part of the job is when you go talk to a customers. I learned a lot from them especially the aged ones because they have more experience than I do. – less
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Fast paced and demanding environment.
Part Time Associate/Associate Trainer (Current Employee), Vancouver, WAJuly 2, 2014
Pros: discount on food, card for free bread every month, great long term friendships
Cons: constant negativity of some sort, reprimanded for silly things, rumor spreading.
A general day at work can be depended on who opened that morning and what kind of mood the manager and opening crew have set. The moods of the employees usually sets the mood of the store. A stressed environment will lead to an overall stress of the store.

At Panera Bread I've learned how to make a variety of sandwiches (hot or cold), salads, and some – more... minor baking. I've learned every position on the production line and trained many people how to work on it.

The management has drastically changed since I've arrived. I enjoy every person as an individual in the managers of the store, but it has gone a little downhill due to just an accumulation of various problems both within the store or influenced by personal problems. No one is driven and they tend to help less and less now with the production line.

The coworkers at Panera Bread are for the most part very enjoyable. There will always be the few people who you will clash personalities with, but we are one big family.

The hardest part of the job is working extremely hard and not seeming to be recognized for hard work. I don't need constant praise but a 'good work' here and there would be appreciated not just from me but other employees of Panera.

The most enjoyable part of Panera Bread would have to be the people who work there and the relationships I've made with regular customers who come in almost daily. Chat among my fellow associates is always nice and nice conversations with the regulars can really brighten not only my day but others as well. – less
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busy busy place
cashier (Former Employee), longview, txJuly 2, 2014
great place, nice atmosphere. They donate food at the end of the night.

About Panera Bread

Work Passionately...Please visit us online to learn more at PaneraBread.jobs. Panera Bread is expanding quickly across North – Read more