Dear Panera located at Mitchell Hammock,
Can you please get my order right? Ever since you opened I’ve wanted to love you so much. You’ve treated me really crappy…but I keep coming back. You’re like a terrible ex-boyfriend that I can’t shake. All your other locations have been so good to me. They’ve been consistent, filled my orders properly, had nice associates, etc. My Panera experiences have been all around pleasant until now.
One day I came and tried to order a green smoothie, but you didn’t have any bananas. I asked if you had short bread cookies, they were gone too. Can I have the soup of the day? All gone. What about a breakfast sandwich? Those aren’t served in the afternoon (admittedly, that’s my bad). I drove away unfulfilled and headed to the next closest Panera, who had anything I could have wanted. Other times, I’ve gotten home and my “you pick two” turned out to be a “you got half.”
Truthfully, I really hate complaining at restaurants b/c you know…the spit. But c’mon, we can do better, right?
In the beginning when Panera first arrived on the scene in my beloved Oviedo, I thought these are just our beginning relationship bumps. I’m sure we can work these kinks out and get to a better place.
One day I came in and had it in my mind that I’d be waiting for my order for a while…it was busy, it was Saturday. But then this other random customer was also having a bad experience. She’d waited for an unusually long time and the associate behind the counter making her food said, “we were out of eggs…but now we’re not. Did you want me to re-heat your sandwich?” Understandably, the customer was confused. “What? You’re out of eggs?”, she said. The Panera lady replied, “we were, but we cooked them, so we’re ready to get it on your sandwich now.”
The entire exchange was so confusing. The lady was not thrilled. “I just want my sandwich, how it’s supposed to come.”
“Did you want us to re-press it?”
I mean, who even knows what happens behind that counter, it’s a complete mystery.
“I want it how it comes.”
I thought well, that should be simple enough, and it’s a pretty normal request. Finally, after further waiting and getting nowhere in the conversation, the lady wanted a refund. “I don’t want my sandwich anymore…I don’t know what you’re doing back there, but it’s ridiculous and I’ve been waiting for 15 minutes.”
Wow, so it’s not just me? This ex-boyfriend had already pissed off other people in it’s short jaunt as the new neighborhood restaurant.
Today, I ordered that delicious avocado and egg white sandwich. I specifically requested the avocado be sliced, like it is in your ad that’s proudly displayed at the front counter. I specifically request it, b/c I’ve received it with 1/2 of a large avocado chunk in the middle of my sandwich. When my order is done, the lady behind the counter throws the bag on the counter…given her ugly disposition, I thought I’d ask a simple question.
Me: “Did you slice the avocado?”
Panera associate: “NO! Did you WANT it sliced?!”
Me: “Yes. That’s what I requested and that’s what the picture shows.”
Panera associate: Grabs bag and gives a HUGE sigh like I just asked her to whittle a dress out of egg whites and spinach leaves.
So now she’s behind the mysterious counter, murdering my sandwich. She throws it back on the counter. I open it and it was like she provided all the ingredients for me to juice or something b/c they were just thrown in there.
Me: Motioning to a manager, “Excuse me? Can you please look at this? I mean, give me a break.”
Manager: “Yeah, that’s not how it should look, she put too many tomatoes on it.”
While that really wasn’t the only problem, I did appreciate him agreeing that my sandwich had seen better days. I do think that the Panera staff caught a break b/c 1) Reagan woke up at 5:40 a.m. 2) she vomited at 6:50 a.m. 3) I am tired and have ZERO food and energy inside of me. I was however able to muster up a little sass… as I asked the manager, “why is the girl behind the counter so pissed off that she had to take out all her aggression on my sandwich?”
The manager said he would personally make it for me, and it came out looking beautiful, just like the picture. I thanked him a bunch and he apologized, and gave me a refund, even though I didn’t ask for one. That was good customer service from the manager and I am giving him virtual claps.
But I’m still left scratching my head, b/c I’ve been provided refunds on many occassions, and I can’t help but think you guys have to get your staff trained better. I want all my Panera experiences to be like the one I received from the manager. Kind, understanding, consistent. You know why people go to McDonalds? It’s not b/c it’s good (Ok, the fries are ridiculously good) but people go b/c it’s consistent. They know a cheeseburger is the same in Orlando as it is in Madison, WI, and that’s why McDonalds is at every highway intersection. America knows it can count on you McDonalds!
So Panera located on Mitchell Hammock, please…PLEASE help us to get into a better place. You are one of the few restaurants in Oviedo, and I really want us to like each other all the time. Mmmk? Thanks!
Oviedo resident who REALLY wants to be loyal to my local Panera.