For the past 8 months, I’ve been ordering from Panera Catering for my “Lunch & Learns”. Essentially, a lunch & learn is provided by my employer. We purchase lunch for an architect/design firm, and then I give a lecture/class that provides continuing education credits that are required to keep yourself in good standing with the various professional groups the architects & designers belong to.
I give lots of these, and during that time I’ve ordered food from Panera 95% of the time. They have locations everywhere, their deliveries are on time, and the food is fresh and good. They’ve been so reliable that over the past 8 months through my employer I’ve given them over $4500 in business.
Who could ask for more, right? Well, I could.
About a month ago, my fiancee’ and her daughter went to a local Panera location for lunch. The cashier couldn’t have been more abrupt and rude, not only to them, but the customer before them. I have no reason to believe that she was any nicer to anyone behind them in line.
Well, as someone who likes the food chain, and who works in a customer service capacity, I thought it would be important to let them know of this experience. I went to their website, and contacted Panera with all of the specific details (store number, location, and the name of the cashier that was on the receipt).
A week went by, and I heard nothing from them, so I decided to try to get their attention through their corporate Facebook page. Again, no response. In the interim, I spend another $200 for a catered event. I decided to post to them on Twitter. Same result, no response.
I was starting to feel a little neglected, as if Panera didn’t care about this far from satisfying experience. Please note that my contact was nice, I told them how I appreciated their catering service, & how I as well as others like their food. Again, I ordered another $160 worth of food.
This morning, I read an interesting blog from someone who had an experience at Chick-fil-A that left him dissatisfied. He contacted them to express his dissatisfaction. Here’s a link to his article https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/chick-fil-a-way-handling-complaint-david-allen?trk=v-feed&trk=v-feed&lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_feed%3BJANcWjC5ByiqheuBVg5xHw%3D%3D
Important to note is how quickly the company responded to their customer, expressed their apologies, and even offered somewhat of a solution.
I reflected on that, knowing that this customer may have spent less than $10 and got an immediate response, and I’ve given Panera $4500+, and received none. That’s disappointing to say the least.
Now, I realize that earlier this month, Panera was purchased by the same group that also owns Krispy Kreme. I’m diabetic, and don’t know much about Krispy Kreme and their products, but I can bet that they would have expressed more concern if they’d received several contacts like the ones I sent to Panera. Here’s an article that discusses the Panera purchase
Needless to say, the office catering market is a crowded market, whether it’s chains like Cosi & Zoe’s Kitchen (who also have great products), or individual food providers in the areas where I work. I’ll certainly be using more of them, and I’m pretty sure they’ll appreciate my business a whole lot more that Panera did.
If this sounds like a breakup, it is. I’m sorry, but I was faithful, and you took me for granted. I’m sure you’ll be okay without me, as I without you, but I’m afraid it’s over…