Aug 142012

My friend Jan and I were about tenth in line at the newly-opened Panera Bread in Madison today, when she said “why did we do this?  We should have gone somewhere we’d be served.”

Amen.  Exactly.  Actually her comment was particularly hilarious because I had shallowly complained to Lea just this weekend that Jan had suggested the place.

I don’t understand the exploding popularity of the “fast casual” restaurant.  They cost as much as sitting down and being waited on at any number of places.  The food is competently prepared, but generally unremarkable.

And the Panera experience in particular is a downright pain in the ass.  I wait in line, and get my own drink, and get up and get my food right after I’ve started visiting in earnest with my friend, and clear the table, and you expect me to separate recyclables when I throw trash away?

Shouldn’t I get, say, a 20% break off what a stuff-on-the-wall place charges for doing all that?

Look, millions of you go.  If you didn’t, the concept wouldn’t be proliferating so.  So what am I missing?

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 Posted by at 9:39 pm

  11 Responses to “I don’t want to go to Panera”

  1. I spend significantly less money at a place like Panera than I do at a table service place – at least 20% less. Almost none of the restaurants in town do soup at all well, but the deli type spots do. They make me happy for that reason at all.

  2. All right, soup is a good answer. I’m not a big eat-soup-out person, so I didn’t know that.

  3. What’s your thoughts on Newk’s?

  4. Miria, I ate there a lot when I was selling cars. And it was Jade Palace. 🙂

    Seriously, haven’t been to Newk’s. Do you have something to share?

  5. Jeff and I like it for a nice compromise between fast food and more formal sit-down, which is important on days where there’s only an hour between baseball practice and Boy Scout meeting. I love their black and blue salad – blackened steak, chunky blue cheese dressing, grape tomatoes, (hold the onion) on romaine lettuce.

  6. I like the black & bleu at O’Charley’s. I’ll put that recommendation in my pocket should I ever find myself at Newk’s.

  7. […] is a counter service place, my dislike of which is now an ongoing joke with this group of friends as well as another.  However, I […]

  8. Ah, but you had such delightful company during the whole experience. 😉 From now on, we will have delightful company as well as full service only.

  9. I did have delightful company, Jan. Love! xoxo

  10. I go to Panera mainly to reminisce about how much better The Mill was back in the day.

  11. Awww, wow, Mike. I actually felt sad reading that remembering what good times I had at The Mill. What happened to it? Everyone loved it.

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