Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Doing our bit for quality control at Panera

panerab&wWe’ve observed a pattern in the level of service of new restaurants here in the past couple of years as the range of culinary opportunities in Jonesboro continues to widen.

They start out with superb service, which continues for a couple of weeks. Then, after the trainers leave, things start to fall apart. Servers get lax, food orders get screwed up, efficiency goes to hell… It happened at Olive Garden. It happened at Red Lobster. It happened at  Longhorn Steakhouse.

And, to our horror, we saw signs of it last night at our favorite bistro, Panera.

Maria’s French onion soup showed up without croutons or the requisite baguette.

Not wanting to see such a splendid place lose its edge, she summoned a manager. Taking care to make it clear that she was not angry and only wanted to see them succeed, she pointed out the lapses. The manager, I think his name was Jerome, seemed grateful for the information and sent her home with a takeout carton of French onion soup and a baguette after getting her order corrected.

On balance, I’m glad we couldn’t get into Longhorn Steakhouse or Red Lobster for our Valentine’s Day dinner last night. Maria recalled that we went to a Panera after our impromptu wedding back in May, 2001. So it was a fitting place to celebrate the occasion.

And just to prove there are no hard feelings, I’m back at Panera this morning enjoying coffee and the Wednesday $1 discount on a four-cheese souffle.

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