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Review of Panera Bread

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Panera Bread
3000 Charleston Town Ctr, Charleston, WV 25389-0008
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Ranked #50 of 252 Restaurants in Charleston
Cuisines: American, Bakery
Restaurant details
New Mexico
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2012

Panera has cut way back on it's bakery selection...in fact I find it's menu over all dimished from what it was 8-10 years ago...

Visited January 2012
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20 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
London, WV
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Not the Panera I Expected -- A Disappointing Experience and Getting Worse”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2011

I like Panera and I appreciate Panera's attention to quality. Panera is a nice middle ground between fast food and full-service chain restaurants; a great place to stop to get a bite when traveling or for quick weekday luncheons. My husband actually has some Panera stock, and we're both fans of the chain.

That said, I'm really disappointed in the Panera Bread that opened up locally at the Charleston Town Center Mall in late July, 2011. At first, I was excited because this new Panera is within walking distance of my office -- fabulous! But it has been a disappointment on every visit and seems to be sliding steadily downward.

On my first visit (for pastry and coffee) the cashier mistook my Panera membership card for a credit card and announced to everyone within earshot that my card had been declined . . . I had to tell her that it was a membership card and not a gift or credit card and that I was paying with cash. Okay, so it's a new place and the staff needs a little time to learn the ropes. I considered the incident, although slightly embarrassing, to be completely forgivable. Besides, the pastry (Pecan Braid) tasted quite fresh even though it was mid-afternoon.

My next visit (a week or so later) was with friends for a luncheon get-together. Ordering went well, but pickup was confusing. My buzzer went off the moment it was handed to me, even though my order was quite obviously not yet ready. My food was simply tossed on a tray on the counter and, after waiting a bit, I finally had to ask the staff (who seemed to pay scant attention to customers) which tray was mine. So, I thought, maybe it will take them a little while to get things together in terms of customer service. By the way, the soup I ordered (Lemon Chicken Orzo) was quite good. A nice balance between the lemon and herbs; just the right amount of meat and orzo; not at all "starchy." Delicate and delicious (not the same as authentic Greek Lemon Soup w/Egg but really quite good).

The third visit, however, was a real deal-breaker. I ordered take out (salad and baguette). Ordering was no problem. However, my buzzer never went off. Again, I was stuck trying to figure out which order was mine. The staff was paying absolutely no attention to customers (backs turned to customers and no eye contact) and seemed really annoyed when I asked which to-go bag was mine. To put it gently, this is not the friendly service I'm used to at Panera Bread.

I should have checked my food then and there. When I got back to the office and opened the bag, the baguette was torn (not cut) into two pieces and dumped unwrapped at the bottom of the bag underneath the clamshell of salad. Nasty!

I had ordered the Thai Chopped Salad (all-natural, antibiotic-free chicken, romaine, Thai cashews, fire-roasted edamame, red peppers, carrots, fresh cilantro & wonton strips all tossed in low-fat Thai Chili Vinaigrette and drizzled with peanut sauce). When I opened the clamshell there peperoncini peppers on the salad (a component of the Greek salad) and two containers of dressing. One dressing seemed to be the Thai Chili Vinaigrette and the other seemed to be the dressing for the Greek salad. Obviously, there was some confusion as to which salad was being prepared and very little attempt was made to correct the error. I did not have the time to go back and complain since I was deep into an busy afternoon --- major disappointment and frustration on my part.

It is careless and inexcusable that sloppy food was allowed to go out the door!! I sent an email complaint to Panera corporate right away, but have yet to receive a response.

So, I'm avoiding Panera at the Charleston Town Center. Bad service, sloppy food prep, nasty attitude toward customers and no response from corporate weeks after lodging a complaint. This restaurant is a huge disappointment! I'm thinking it's time to sell the stock . . .

  • Visited August 2011
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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