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Folks in Tampa Bay who know me have probably had coffee/lunch with me at Panera – huge huge fan. Successful companies cannot sit back and enjoy!

14 Jun 2012 | Posted Under Sales

Love Hate Relationship with Panera

I frequent all 7 of my local franchise stores – often (as my friends do know) as they are a great place to meet for business; to hang and do some work between appointments and my hubby and I have morning coffee in a few of them most weekends as they fit in with our activities!

Why? Well there are some usual reasons we do what we do:

  • Convenience
  • Consistence
  • Familiarity
  • Good value
  • Authentic

I sometimes question whether these are good enough sometimes because very very often they let me down. I wonder why I do it to myself as these disappointment come in waves it seems.

Convenience: Parking lot is often so full I drive away. Queue is so long I find it irritating slow service.
Consistence: Often the coffee is out (in the morning, sigh!); they don’t bake enough and I am disappointed or I observe fellow Panera-heads disappointed and frustrated at about 11.00 a.m.
Familiarity:  Well, who is really familiar? I know them, even know their names, but I see the same person sometimes 3 times a week – and not a familiar smile. Sure they see probably thousands but I am special and deserve some sign of recognition. BUT THEN on the other hand turnover in some of the stores is so high, it can be 3 different people in one week, as well a new managers which does impact the speed of things for sure.
Good Value: Panera is OK. Food is fresh and it is in the ballpark. Wouldn’t write home about it, but it is effortless.
Authentic: They bring in seasonal fare and they are genuine in their desire to serve.

What made me even write this blog? Well, I ventured to a Panera I don’t go to as often last week and there, behind the counter, was a very familiar face – Aimee – I came up the counter and commented on the fact that she was here and not her usual location. She said “Hi, how are you?”…THE USUAL!!!!???????? OK, she didn’t know my name but we had had many short chats over the year or so and she was always someone who I observed went out of her way.

So, I tolerate the negative for many reasons but it was all worthwhile when I saw an old friend in a Panera that I didn’t know well BUT it was the same old Panera!

Today, that is sometimes what a customer needs; a little recognition goes a long way!

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