The Era of Panera

Panera Bread Case Study

The food industry definitely has its struggles as a workplace.  However, can’t that be said about any job position?  I have realized that it all depends on the quality of management.  As a new employee of Panera Bread, I am proud to praise the company and the leadership it offers.  Their strategic decisions and success in hiring passionate, yet qualified operation managers, makes it easy to relate everything learned in class.

In chapter one, we were given a list of 10 strategic decisions of operations management to ponder:

1.  Design of goods and services

2.  Managing quality

3.  Process and capacity design

4.  Location strategy

5.  Layout strategy

6.  Human resources and job design

7.  Supply-chain management

8.  Inventory management

9.  Scheduling

10.  Maintenance

When I think Panera Bread, I think strategy success.  The restaurant layout, quality food, and design of service are only three of the tactful ways Panera remains popular among the community.  The environment strives for a homey feel–using all of the senses to engage one in its comfortability.  For example, the aroma of freshly baked bread captures the sensation of one’s own kitchen.  As the foremost important attribute to the restaurant, bread is baked to quality every night to satisfy customers.  In addition, handpicked employees are chosen to complete the overall sincere and warm-hearted experience.

The hiring process, itself, had given me reason to believe that Panera’s operations were organized and safely developed.  They cared so much about finding people who fit into the beliefs of the corporation.  Even as the ‘new girl’ I was surprised how many people made me feel welcomed with a simple introduction.  Also, the pride and carefulness in training was a process I had never gone through–even though I had previously worked in the food industry.  The procedure first began with a group interview, which later led to a one-on-one.  This allowed the managers to see how each interviewee reacted within a crowd, as well as getting to know them personally. Once receiving confirmation of making the team, an event known as, Plan a Bread, must be attended.  It would inform workers of the company’s background and intended goals.  Then, hours of e-learning videos and quizzes continued the process.  Next was the physical training.  Here I would take on different responsibilities to contribute to Panera’s service–cashier, barista, back-of-house, and food production.  This would take weeks.  Even with training completed, the learning never stopped.  Each season, a ‘bread bash’ is held.  This mandatory meeting gathers up all of the employees within a location.  The objective of the meeting is to inform everyone about new menu additions and give them a little taste.

This is a perfect example of a company who cares not only about service and food, but about its family of employees.  Doing their best to have knowledgeable workers who know what they are a part of, Panera’s organized management creates a warm environment for all to enjoy.  Now knowing of the process that happens behind the scenes at Panera Bread, do you agree or disagree that they hold a smooth operation?


6 thoughts on “The Era of Panera

  1. You had me at Panera. I could eat a Bacon Turkey Bravo any day of the week.

    They definitely have a smooth operation in their restaurants. You notice it particularly during the lunch rush. Everyone plays a specific role, and no one is spread too thin. This makes for a seamless transition from ordering to receiving your food. From the people your order from, to the food preparers, and even the bussers and managers, everyone is always in there with the same goal and the same attitude. Coincidentally, I know 1 past and 1 present Panera GM in the Phoenix market, and I can attest to the thorough training of Panera putting them where they are today (both started behind the counter.) It’s a great company to get into, and advancement is there for the taking.

  2. I had a roommate that worked at Panera and it seemed like they were a well oiled machine when they were cooperative with each other. This article was very helpful because it allowed me to understand that this isn’t just how things work at a local Panera but at all Paneras. As a resident of California I did not receive a Panera bread until 2 years ago, and my family loved it because we got in and out and the food is always good. However, Panera having good food overall because they have a great planning system like the bread bash and design a bread. Great article.

  3. I completely agree that Panera holds a smooth operation, and even without knowing about their management style, it shows through the quality of their customer service. I’ve never been disappointed in the quality of service that I’ve received from walking in to walking out of a Panera no matter the location. It was interesting to learn the amount of time an employee dedicates to simply training, because it shows that it can make all the difference.

  4. Panera definitely is one of the smoothest operating “fast” food chains there is around. Like it was mentioned, I have seen employees assigned to certain roles so they aren’t stressed or overwhelmed with too many tasks. This also give them the opportunity to make sure the orders are correct and the dining area itself is clean. With some locations in the suburbs getting drive-thrus, and with the new order from the app feature, hopefully Panera can keep up with the seamless operations by having employees scheduled specifically for those options instead of having them crossover from store orders to app orders.

  5. I clicked on this post as I read the title and instantly thought about Panera’s phenomenal cheddar broccoli soup. The breakdown on the effectiveness of Panera’s management impresses me. Panera definitely uses the right tactics when it comes to running their restaurants. The fresh baked bread does give customers that feel of being at home. I also always get excellent service from the courteous employees. Additionally, I think its great that Panera doesn’t just care about food and service, but also the family of employees like you said. The “bread bash” meetings seem like a smart idea in two ways.

    1) Employees become knowledgeable about new items on the Menu, which they can recommend to customers, which will increase overall sales.
    2) Employees have more of an incentive to attend the meetings since they will be trying these new items.

  6. I completely agree we Tom. The title made me also think about their Broccoli Cheddar soup which is delicious. I love going into Panera because of their homey feeling, along with helpful employees. As i have mentioned before happy employees= happy clients, and it seems as though Panera understands this concept. Their atmosphere brings in more clients; going into Panera during lunch hour is very hectic, but it shows how many people love their food, and there culture.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *