The Artist formerly known as Cybele24 (rightsaidred) wrote in bad_service,
The Artist formerly known as Cybele24

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Panera suck... but a decent reply from the company

So I had one hell of a suck at Panera last week. I meant to blog about it at the time, but I did leave a grumpy but polite message on their feedback form: [Comments in italics.]

Last week, I received what I felt to be woefully inadequate service. I walked in to the store at 7 pm on August 5. There was a line of about 8-10 people. There were only two cashiers working and three people on the sandwich/salad line [Note: way understaffed.  Bad planning on their part.  They're the only place open downtown on Sunday.  They should expect a fair bit of business.] I also noticed that they were "out" of a good third of the menu- half the soups had been removed from the board and ALL the Paninis, as well as a number of other things, even though they were supposed to be open for another hour [More bad planning... combined with a touch of laziness]. 

I then proceeded to wait in line for TWENTY minutes while the cashiers, one of whom was the manager on duty, dragged their feet and stood chatting with every customer rather than trying to serve the long line of people that was queing up behind me [pure and simple bad_service right there.]. When I finally did get to the front, I ordered a bowl of soup, but was told I couldn't have bread with it becasue they were out of the baguettes that they serve with it. I could have an apple or chips as my side, that was it. Instead, seeing that they still had some, I didn't get a side with my soup, but paid 50 cents for a roll [That's right.  I didn't get part of my meal (their chips are greasy as hell and I don't like Red Delicious apples) and paid for something else to go with it].  

When I got down to the pick-up counter, I was a little more than peeved to see a basket full of baguettes sitting on the counter! And then I discovered that my order had been given to somebody else! [ I don't really blame the line people for that.  Probably a grabby customer.  Besides, the line guys were polite and sincerely apologetic.]   I was not a happy person. At all. They offered me a refund on the roll, but I wasn't about to hold up the line at the registers any more over 50 cents when so many people were waiting in line [that would have been pure customers_suck on my part ]. Having spent 25 minutes in the store just to order, I didn't have time to eat, but had to race back to work three blocks away before my break was up. I ended up trying to eat my dinner while serving customers at work.

My husband worked for your company for over two years. I KNOW this is not the way a store should be run. They should have heated up more soup around 6 if they were getting low- it isn't wasteful because it's heated up the next day. And I KNOW that if they were "out" of the baguettes they should have offered me some other kind of bread as an alternative. I should not have had to pay for it. [probably should have brought this up at the time, as I know it's company policy (I've seen the training books), but I really didn't have time to argue with them about it and again, I didn't want to hold up everyone else in line.]

I used to stop by this location several times a week for a bagel and chai on the way to work/school, but I very much doubt I shall be doing so in the future. [And I really do mean that.  I haven't been there since, thoughI've been downtown and carb-hungry nearly every day since.]

Today I got a response:

Dear Angela,
Thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding your visit to our Minneapolis, MN bakery-café (#1318).  We sincerely apologize for your disappointing experience.

We always strive to provide a wonderful meal, great service and a welcoming environment for our customers.  When we fall short of that goal, we want to know about it. Thanks to feedback like yours, we can address problems quickly. I have forwarded your comments to the District Manager and to the bakery-café for review and follow-up.

If you will provide your postal mailing address by reply e-mail, I will be happy to send you a certificate so that you may have a treat on us. Please allow approximately two weeks for delivery.

Thanks again for contacting us. We appreciate your business and value your comments.

Customer Comment Coordinator

So I guess they responded appropriately (at least they say they did) even if it does sound like a fill-in-the-blank response to a complaint letter.  Honestly though, it seems like the  customers_suck  is so rampant they  just automatically send out a gift card to every angry person and call it good.  I mean, I wasn't looking to wheedle free food out of them, I just wanted to let a company that I usually love know that one of their stores gave me seriously substandard service so they can fix it.  I'll take the gift card (Hey, I'm poor.  Free food is free food.)  and give them another try, but if I don't get a shiny happy bagely experience (not to mention a clean flugging table for once) I won't be spending any of my own money there again.  I'll go to Brueggers Incredibly Inferior Rock-Hard Bagels instead.
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