Panera Bread to Offer Locals A Slice of the Good Life, Starting Tuesday

August 28, 2010
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Panera Bread opens Tuesday at 6 a.m.

Panera Bread opens Tuesday at 6 a.m.

Finally, you can have your Panera Bread, and eat it, too. This Tuesday, Aug. 31, the bakery-café will open its doors at 6 a.m. Regular café hours will be 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.

“We are so excited, we’re just ecstatic,” said Laura Berrie, general manager of the new La Verne location at the corner of Fruit and Foothill.

Berrie added that Panera Bread has hired about 50 associates, about 90 percent from the local area. Many in the morning crew are moms with children off at school while many working the afternoon and evening shifts are students, ages 19-24. For the past weeks, they’ve been training up, in anticipation of Tuesday’s grand opening.

“I’ve been in this industry for a long time,” Berrie said, “and I’ve never seen a crew like this. They’re great, wonderful people. They are just extremely enthusiastic and team players. Maybe it has something to do with their upbringing in this community.

“Even my boss said how wonderful this group is. We’re just so delighted with the people we’ve hired.”

When word first leaked that Panera Bread, a company-owned St. Louis-based chain of about 1,400 restaurants  was coming to La Verne, the café was bombarded with applications, the good news for Panera being it was able to select absolutely the best people.

“When we hire, we’re always looking for the ‘Face of Panera,’” Berrie said. “Associates who have big smiles and are warm, friendly, enthusiastic and knowledgeable.”

Those qualities mesh well with Panera Bread’s emphasis on customer service and its LASTing corporate values:

L – Listen to the customer,

A – Apologize if any part of the customer’s dining experience is unfavorable.

S – Solve any unfavorable situation, and

T – Thank customers for allowing Panera Bread to serve them.


These values must be creating success and a positive dining experience because in August, Fortune magazine named Panera Bread to its 2010 list of 100 Fastest-Growing companies, one of only two restaurant concepts to make the 2010 list.

Further, Zagat Survey®, the world’s leading provider of consumer survey-based leisure information, in August named Panera Bread the most popular large restaurant chain in the United States in its 2010 Zagat Fast-Food Survey. Panera was also recognized with No. 1 rankings for its salads and facilities.

As for its La Verne facilities, which includes a beautiful patio area, Panera Bread can accompany about 120 people.

“We are an everyday oasis for customers,” Berrie added.

Panera’s identity is rooted in handcrafted, fresh-baked, artisan bread.

“We are committed to providing great tasting, quality food that people can trust,” Berrie said.

The La Verne Panera Bread will feature signature soups, salads, sandwiches and other wholesome offerings, complemented by new items introduced seasonally, which are called “celebrations.”

Berrie’s personal morning favorite is Panera’s power-breakfast sandwich, which features whole grain whole grain bread, ham, shirred eggs, and aged white Vermont cheddar. For lunch and dinner, all of Panera’s signature Panini sandwiches are popular. “They’re phenomenal,” Berrie added. She also raved about the macaroni and cheese, consisting of a tangy Vermont cheddar melted over a shell pasta. “It’s light, fluffy, and very cheesy, but not heavy and thick,” she said.

Diners can also mix and match, selecting from several soup, salad and sandwich combos. There is also free WiFi and free refills on coffee and sodas.

It all starts on Tuesday.


 Panera Bread is located in the same shopping center as La Verne’s one and only The Corner Butcher Shop. So after picking up a baguette or loaf of multi-grain bread from Panera swing over to The Corner Butcher shop for great deli meats and the best beef and fish selections in town. John and Will offer daily specials!

Panera Bread and The Corner Butcher Shop —

 A Great Combo Any Way You Slice It!


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