Dear Panera at Mitchell Hammock

July 22, 2014

Filed in: Life, Thoughts

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.

comments +

  1. Thelma

    July 22nd, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    I agree–have witnessed on onslaught of poor attitude and inconsistencies.

  2. Becky

    July 23rd, 2014 at 2:21 am

    So it’s not just me, good to know. So disappointed also. Hopefully, they will get it together and soon. I want to love our Oviedo Panera too!!

  3. Laurel

    July 23rd, 2014 at 3:07 am

    While I haven’t had an experience as awful as yours, I haven’t had any wonderful experiences there, either. I really hope they get it together soon. I really WANT to like going there! 🙂

  4. rudy

    July 23rd, 2014 at 9:27 am

    I’ve only been there a few times and wasn’t impressed either. I do like that when I swipe my Panera card they send me a survey through email so I always provide feedback whether it’s bad or good.

  5. Deb

    July 23rd, 2014 at 10:30 am

    I too was so excited to see a Panera finally in Oviedo. But I had the same experience my first ( and by the way my last time) there.

  6. Whitney

    July 23rd, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    DITTO!!! Was super excited for Panera to arrive. I went once…Was treated so badly and the food was so bad that I haven’t been back. Truly bummed!!!!

  7. Tricia

    July 23rd, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Couldn’t agree more! Was so excited to have a new selection in oviedo dining but have yet to have a positive experience in the oviedo panera. Please tell me how could you be out of coffee and Ice coffee at 8am. Ordering a dozen bagels has never yielded 12 bagels in the bag….usually it’s 10. Service has always been horrible:(

  8. Julie

    July 23rd, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    Wow! Sorry to hear about all the unhappy customers. We have never had a bad experience yet (have only visited during breakfast – drive-thru only & dinner – dine-in only).

    However, I too love Oviedo and want everyone to frequent our local businesses to help the community.

    Praying they pull it all together for everyone’s sake!!

  9. Allison

    July 23rd, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    Wow I feel so much better that it’s not just me! Sad too tho. I was excited that my beloved Oviedo was getting a place to take my kids, meet up with friends & clients! But so far (& I’ve been there 3 times) I’m shocked at how different life is at this location. Poor, cranky aloof service added to incorrect orders each time. Not good. Hope they can fix it FAST!!

  10. Julia

    July 24th, 2014 at 12:36 am

    I have had a couple of bad experiences as well. So sad. I want so much for it to be ‘my go to’. One night after working 2 jobs that day. I stopped in to grab a late dinner for my family. The drive thru service was quick. I drove 15 minutes home to the smiling faces of my family only to find that 3/4 of the order wasn’t there. I called and headed out the door. Waited for forever to get the rest of my order. Asked if there was anything they could do for me. The girl said ‘well, we could give you a pastry but there aren’t many left’. Really? I had to drive all the way back and now home again. And I’m really not getting anything.
    I check my bag now before I leave.
    I’ve had a bad experience inside too but this one was the topper.
    Fingers crossed for better times to come. Great post, thank you for sharing. 😀

  11. Nancy

    July 24th, 2014 at 1:01 am

    I was surprised and disappointed that my sandwich seemed smaller at the Oviedo location than at the Winter Springs location, figured the bread should be the same size.

  12. Julie Stiles Mills

    July 25th, 2014 at 12:33 am

    Well, this is not encouraging. I was hoping my experience today was a fluke. I posted about this particular Panera on facebook just a few hours ago and someone pasted a link to your blog post in the comments. Here’s what happened to my daughter (PinkGirl) and I at lunch today:

    “So disappointed. Went to the new Panera near my house for the 1st time today. Bug in PinkGirl’s salad. Not a sunflower seed. We’re sure. tiny. little. legs. Manager saw them too. (thankfully, they were not moving.) Refund for both our salads. I had already eaten the sandwich from my Pick Two, so I really hope the bug came from some pre-mixed lettuce in a bag. A 3 month old restaurant can’t have bugs yet, right? Either way, I won’t be going back for anything but coffee. Creeps me out. Also hated the table layout. No nooks and crannies for conversation. Sounded like a school cafeteria in there. I’ll be driving the extra 10 minutes to the next closest one. ‪#‎arg‬”

    I wanted to love them too. But the horrible floor/table layout is really enough to make me go to Red Bug and Tuskawilla when I want to meet up with a friend. I like their Hazelnut coffee, but I have a feeling I can get a better cup a joe at Barnies on Lockwood – and the atmosphere is better.

  13. Karen

    July 28th, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    I’ve had a few bad experiences there also. I asked for a baker’s dozen of bagels. My order was taken and paid for. Then the same cashier waited on 2 more customers before he left the cash register to gather my bagels. I felt like chopped liver. Why were their orders more important than mine? On a previous visit I ordered an asiago cheese bagel, sliced and toasted with light cream cheese. The clerk left the register, walked away to be sure that they had the requested bagel type (I wouldn’t have ordered it if I hadn’t seen it) then came back and asked if I would like it sliced, then asked about toasting, then asked if I wanted cream cheese. It was if his brain had stopped short at the name of the bagel and he just didn’t hear the rest of what I had said. Duh.

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