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Atlanta Bread Company, 631-6 Promenade Place (Village at Sandhill): Summer 2007   13 comments

Posted at 1:54 am in restaurants

This is one of the closings that tempts me to write good riddance. I know that's harsh, and that this place was someone's dream and livelihood. However..

The last time I was in this place was in the Spring, while the Sparkleberry Fair was running on Clemson Road across from The Village at Sandhills. We had been at the fair with my little three year old neice, and she was tired out and cranky, and had been promised a snack. The ABC was just across the road, and we imagined zipping in, getting her, and ourselves, a cookie and something to drink.

It quickly became apparent that this was not going to happen as visualized. The store didn't seem very full, but for some reason everyone in there was in the line rather than sitting down, and the line was not moving. It seemed the computer was down. OK, that happens. We decided we could wait a few minutes rather than putting my neice back in her car-seat and trying to find somewhere else. However, listening to the staff talk, it gradually dawned on me that none of them had any idea of what they were doing, and none of them had any authority to do anything.

At a well run restaurant in situations like this, after the staff has flailed for a few minutes, the manager comes out of the back and says something like:

Folks, looks like our computer is down, but we're going to take care of you. I've got my calculator and note pad here, and I'm going to write up your orders and get you your change. We'll worry about entering it into the system later.

Nothing of the sort happened here, and for the twenty or so minutes we waited, nobody was helped. It boggled my mind that with half a dozen people being paid to stand around, the most basic function of a business, taking in cash from customers, was not taking place.

The next time I went to Sandhills, I noticed that the store had closed, and was not a bit surprised. I was a bit surprised on a later visit to notice legal notices posted on the door complaining of non-payment of rent. But only a bit.

UPDATE 12 April 2010: Added full street address to post title.

Written by ted on December 31st, 2007

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13 Responses to 'Atlanta Bread Company, 631-6 Promenade Place (Village at Sandhill): Summer 2007'

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  1. I have NEVER been to an ABC that I've been impressed with. My wife says the new one on Lake Murray Blvd. is nice and well-staffed, however. Most of my experience has been with the one near Lexington Medical Center on 378. It ALWAYS appears over staffed with people just kind of standing around behind the counter. The staff is always clearly unfamiliar with the menu and the way food items are prepared -- they aren't sure how to answer the most basic questions. I think there's probably a lot of turnover. Also, I've never a manager around to help out or keep things in check. The food/drinks are fine though. Nothing special, but I've got no complaints there.

    Brian

    8 Feb 08 at 9:36 pm

  2. From someone who used to work at two of the aforementioned stores, i can vouch for the high turnover. At the sandhill store, after a store manager could not take the overbearing owners and left, you can clearly mark the death of that store. It's a sad thing to see, especially after putting so much work in to it myself. The customer base in that area is especially rough, and we seemed to get people that were more ready to try to pick a fight with us than enjoy a quality meal. The west columbia store is generally over staffed, but has recently been taken over by corporate office. We've lost an owner, then had the one remaining be pushed aside. I've seen more store managers get fired, replaced, or have quit than any other job i've worked. It is a rough time for a rough industry.

    Jeremy

    12 May 08 at 8:50 am

  3. Yes, the Sandhill store clearly needed an on-the-ball manager the day I wrote about, and didn't have one..

    Interesting what you say about the Sandhill customer base. The place is full of upscale stores, but its also the only place I've ever had anything like this happen:

    Last summer, I parked and left my windows cracked so the interior wouldn't be totally frying hot when I got back in. Someone came by and dropped a lighted cigarette through my back window and burned a hole in the seat. I'm just lucky it didn't set the whole car on fire!

    ted

    13 May 08 at 12:22 am

  4. You should see Sandhills at night when the hoodlum kids come out -- it is rough-- We were attending a movie and the police had to come in and remove wild teenagers -- This is a upscale place for roving crowds of kids of low class lifestyle. -- Will NEVER go there again at night--- The Columbia Mall problem has just moved to a new spot -- So Sad So Sad

    Kc

    13 May 08 at 4:15 pm

  5. Oh noooooooo. Say it aint so. What a shame.

    Does this mean Columbia Mall is better now?

    Anna

    24 Jun 08 at 7:50 pm

  6. Well, I don't think Columbia Mall has any bakery type store. However -- latest word is that the ABC building will be opening back up as a Panera Bread.

    ted

    24 Jun 08 at 11:31 pm

  7. I'll go ahead and say it. Good Riddance. I use to go to the one in harbison next to the movie theater. (which is closed) and they always were horrible. Says much about the company that the one on Lake murray blvd is closed as well. Obviously a poor company.

    Mike

    4 Jul 08 at 10:27 pm

  8. I agree with Mike about the Harbison location. So convenient to grab a bite before or after a meal, but it took so dang long to get ANYTHING! It was not uncommon to see folks give up and leave because of the slow service. It will not be missed.

    ceegardave

    16 Jul 08 at 11:25 am

  9. i used to work at the sandhills location earlier last yr and on pay day we used to go cash our checks and theyd run the checks thru and they would say there's no money in the account so when we would go back to the store they would give us bits and loans until our money came the next wk or two....i quit wks later after it keep happening

    alivinglegend

    28 Jul 08 at 6:49 pm

  10. I found your site while looking for information on failed restaurants.

    The Washington Post had a business page articles several years ago about why some franchises fail while others succeed. The compared two Bertucci's (a Mararoni Grill close) where in very similar neighborhoods one fails while the other succeeds.
    The odd part about the article is that it failed to considered individual managers and owners. If a particular store in a franchise is bad, people quickly stop going.

    Considering the Atlanta Bread Company is part of Panera that is expanding, the failure had to be due to local management/ownership. Also, the owner probably did not understand what it takes to deliver good service.

    I also love your rules about restaurants. However, you should see Stainedapron.com, to see the world from the servers point of view. If a restaurant is in an area with bad customers who do not tip (for table service) the turnover will be huge and the place will probably fail.

    superdestroyer

    31 Jul 08 at 6:15 am

  11. I think management is a huge factor!

    The silliest reason I've come across, is a Moe's in Garden City. For some reason when the staff at that store would greet with Welcome to Moe's! the accents made it sound like We're Closed! and I actually saw several senior citizens turn around and walk out. I'm sure that wasn't the only reason, but it can't have helped..

    ted

    31 Jul 08 at 5:05 pm

  12. Atlanta Bread on Lake Murray Blvd in Irmo has been closed for some time as well.

    O'Reilly

    9 Oct 08 at 5:39 pm

  13. Thank you super for bringing stainedapron.com to my attention. I just spent the past 2 hours on that site. I just wish all ignorant people knew what its like to work and own a restaurant.

    Michael

    9 Oct 08 at 11:25 pm

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