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Panera Bread, 1007 Bower Parkway: January 2024 (Moving)   13 comments

Posted at 8:11 pm in closing


















The Harbison Panera Bread has closed in advance of its move to the 2nd & Charles plaza. The new location notably has a drive-through which the Bower Parkway one did not.

Here is (an oldish) State story on the move.

My experience is that this location, along with Garners Ferry & Percival has not been stellar. I find Killian to be the best run of the local stores.

Written by ted on February 5th, 2024

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13 Responses to 'Panera Bread, 1007 Bower Parkway: January 2024 (Moving)'

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  1. I was driving by the new location the other day. The only reasons I can think why it is not open is either staffing issues or they are still waiting on some equipment.


    6 Feb 24 at 8:10 am

  2. Panera is currently dealing with lawsuits because of the Charged Lemonade.


    6 Feb 24 at 4:49 pm

  3. Update! They are scheduled to open Wednesday Feb. 21st.


    7 Feb 24 at 7:18 am

  4. I used to work in that area and I patronized this location a fair bit. Food was good, but I got the impression they had a management problem, as they could *not* keep a consistent staff. Toward the end of my time in the area, Panera must've been desperate for staff and the employees knew it. They didn't seem too care much about customers, their own appearance, the state of the restaurant... Hopefully, that will get tended to at their new location.

    All the "Covid restrictions" changed the way businesses think vis a vis "sit down and enjoy" vs "get it and go". Why have a big area for customers when what you want is for them to get their order and go?

    Panera's food is good. Their "loyalty program" not so much.

    Lone Wolf

    7 Feb 24 at 7:32 am

  5. LoneWolf - A lot of "changes since Covid" are good ways for businesses to save money. Not only will customers leave faster without dining rooms, but a smaller location is cheaper to operate. Also, I think many employees would rather not deal with customers inside the restaurant/store.

    I've seen more and more coffee shops that are drive-thru only. Some of the large fast food restaurant chains have tested new locations with the drive-thru-only style, i.e. Taco Bell. I think Wendy's was planning locations where you park your car in a designated space, beside a kiosk, and wait for your food to be sent through a chute.


    7 Feb 24 at 12:21 pm

  6. I live in that area and I used to patronize this location a fair bit. :) The old location was overdue for an interior refresh long before Covid. The carpet was nasty. Many of the tables and chairs were damaged. The fabric on the booth seats was stained or the vinyl was torn (e.g. 8th picture down). The "sit down and enjoy" became less enjoyable over time because the place wasn't clean and often had a funky smell. Then the staffing issues kicked in ...


    7 Feb 24 at 12:23 pm

  7. @Robin - you're 100% on the money. Restaurants, coffee shops, et al are all going to the save money model. Cheaper to operate is the name of the game. Char-bucks...I mean Starbucks, is closing brick n' mortar locations in favor of drive thru capable spots for precisely that reason.

    They're having to, in order to stay afloat. Minimum wage jobs aren't meant to pay $20 an hour.

    Lone Wolf

    7 Feb 24 at 7:50 pm

  8. The Bower Parkway Panera used to be one of my favorite places for lunch. The parking situation was awful if you went at a peak or near-peak hour, but the food was initially very good. Then Panera started messing with the menu and the one item I really loved got removed from the menu.

    What finally lost my business was an instance where I got a mildly rude response from a manager when I tried to order a lunch item at the start of the lunch hours, but they either had lost track of time or weren't yet set up. Either way, the response was beyond what was called for and left me feeling stupid. I walked out and went across the street to Firehouse Subs, where they treated me kindly and welcomed my business. After that, I was done with Panera unless a friend wanted to meet up there.

    I wish Panera well with the new location, but as happens all too often, Panera took a neat concept and then refined and trend-chased it into something that lost me.

    Jodie Peeler

    11 Feb 24 at 10:03 am

  9. Drove by the new location today and there were signs all around it saying they were open.


    21 Feb 24 at 6:54 pm

  10. Coladaily has this story talking about the new next-generation Panera...


    23 Feb 24 at 8:42 pm

  11. @Andrew -- that's a remarkably uninformative article on the "next-generation"!

    The new and modern design focuses more on off-premise convenience, enhanced digital capabilities, and drive-thru access. The model also focuses on an elevated dine-in experience with comfortable seating and on Panera's unique craft bakery experience within a warm and welcoming environment.


    23 Feb 24 at 11:16 pm

  12. "enhanced digital capabilities" - I wonder if customers will be required to order through kiosks at the counter? I've been to a Dunkin' Donuts and Taco Bell which were like that.


    24 Feb 24 at 8:25 am

  13. @Lone Wolf - I was in the "raise minimum wage to $20ish" camp, but not so much anymore. The quality and customer service has declined at many places. I don't quite believe that everyone will become a top-notch employee as soon as the bigger paychecks hit their bank accounts.

    As I understand, the attitude is "you get minimum effort for minimum wage". If the minimum does increase to $15 - $20 per hour, what will it take to have a good employee? $20 - $25?

    I see cashiers/associates getting away with things that would have gotten me fired in the late 2000s - early 2010s. Managers often seem afraid to do anything because, if nothing else, at least the subpar employees will show up for work.


    27 Feb 24 at 12:27 pm

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