I like working here at Panera, because the fireplace is warm and the refills are free and the staff is insanely friendly and kind.
That said, the company that runs these places is maddening. To begin with, they make workers come in for an initial day of training—without paying them. Second, they start employees off at $8 an hour. Seriously, $8. I know times are tough and sandwich making isn’t bio-medicine, but the majority of the men and women who work here take the bus from the Bronx, which probably calls for an extra hour of time each way. They’re dedicated, hard-nosed, etc—and the job rewards them very little.
Here’s what gets me most: Most people here work nine-hour shifts. If they want to eat, they receive a 60% discount on food. No free meals, no free snacks. Nothing. I’ve never heard of this before—almost all restaurants of this ilk provide workers with one gratis meal per shift. It’s cheap, pathetic, insulting and speaks very poorly of the men and women running the corporate operations.