There's a group of us that meets on Wednesdays at 9:00 a.m. Sometimes there will be just 6-7 of us but when everyone shows up it's a big group. Their bagels are good and I am told that the salads are good too, though I can't make myself order one at 9 in the morning. Everyone has their favorite thing.
In the past months we have all noticed that the service has been going downhill. It was not good to begin with but now, it is just unacceptable. Sometimes, if you're lucky, there's no line when you arrive but if there is a line like this morning, it is frustrating to see one cashier and 5 or 6 employees in the back that are experts in looking busy but not really accomplishing much. I don't know if there is ever a manager anymore. One time my coffee (bold/strong) had the taste and smell of hazelnut and they kept insisting that it didn't have hazelnut. What probably happened is that the container had the hazelnut coffee previously and was not properly cleaned. The manager at an earlier visit was there and he looked like he didn't know what he was doing. It was like the blind leading the blind. Two days ago I ordered a bagel, toasted twice, and coffee. It was given to me in a bag. I told them it was "for here" so he took it out of the bag and placed it on a plate. It was pale as can be so I reminded him I wanted it toasted twice.
Today when I arrived, Nako was eating a coffee cake and I asked him how it was and his reply was: "It's dry". We all told him to have it replaced but he didn't since that was the last piece. It was probably the last piece from yesterday! Then Jean came and ordered a bagel. The bagel was MIA (missing in action) and it took a long time before she was united with her bagel. Ed had a salad which he enjoyed and Amy had a healthy sandwich with avocado, tomato and spinach.
We go to Panera because we all are creatures of habit and it is convenient for everyone. One of these days, there will be a place close by and I won't be surprised if we all explore something new. I have to mention that almost every time there is a line, you hear comments from people in the line saying things like: "they're so slow", "why do they have just one cashier", or "what are those people in the back doing?" People look at each other and sometimes just roll their eyes.
We all hope to see an improvement in the service and hope they get a manager that can really manage and see what needs to be done. There used to be a server named Ashley and she was the only one on the ball. I told her she should have been the manager. She was recently transferred to another Panera so the only efficient employee is now gone.
Panera Bread's address is 2733 Pacific Coast Hwy. in Torrance, California.