Sunday, September 25, 2005

Planet Bread

This past week I have ventured back into the grueling world of "work". After Todd and I discussed the reality that I needed to return to work, my only comment was "i do not want to work with food". In my search for the "perfect" job, however, I was left with only one option.

Yep, FOOD.

A woman by the name of Brenda manages the Panera Bread in our local mall and told me she could fulfill the hour restraints I requested. So, last Monday I went into Lakeside Mall, turned in my application and had my "orientation" to learn the "facinating career choice" I had made. Tuesday night, I was sent to Planet Bread in Rochester, the required training night that all Panera employees must attend. I listen for 3 1/2 hours how Panera got its name ("pan-era- the era of the bread pan"). I learned how great working for Panera is and that their goal is "a loaf of bread in every arm".
As soon as I arrived at Planet Bread I felt like a huge outsider. First of all, I was told to wear the "uniform" (polo shirt, khaki pants) and since I was given my Panera hat, arrived wearing that as well. Apparently, the HAT was not a requirement and right away I felt like a huge "dork". All of the future employees looked up at me as I arrived and from the strange look on their young faces, it was obvious I was not only the oldest, but classified early on as "not cool". Withstanding the extreme peer pressure to remove the HAT in order to blend in a little, I swallowed my pride, reminded myself that although I am mistaken for a teen all the time, I am an ADULT and answered each question with every ounce of courage I could pretend to have. By the end of the night, I had baked bread, ate some great food and actually made a "friend".

But... that was only the beginnning.

Wednesday, I went into Panera dressed in my polo shirt, khaki pants and HELD my Panera cap until inside the mall. After receiving an hours worth of reading (how to's of cleaning the dining room of all things), I put on the classy apron and began to trail after the trainer as she gave me the dining room "tour". Brenda gave me a test, to which I must brag that I received 100%, then I got the chance to try out a few exercises on the register. "Not so bad" I thought and went home exhausted but satisfied I had passed my first day at work.

Thursday was a true test of my sanity. I was allowed to practice on the register for an hour and then as soon as the lunch hour rush came, was actually given my own register! AHHHHH! I tried to hide the panick and very ungracefully made it through until break time. Now, for those of you who are saying "Kim, its a register! How can it be that hard?", obviously you have never worked with FOOD. You see, it would be much easier to grab a purchase, scan it and take their money. However, when you are working the lunch rush at a restaurant in the mall, you have to deal with something like this,

"Ummm. I'd like the Turkey Bacon Bravo sandwich with brocolli cheddar soup. Oh and on the sandwich I'd like no onion, light mayo, horseradish on the side, add extra tomatoes, change the bread to tomato basil, no chips , two pickles and a frozen cappicino icee (which I have to make myself). Can you actually make that the Take two instead? I can't really eat a whole sandwich"

"Ok,..." (I am scrambling to void the entire transaction and have to start OVER because the customer now wants a take-two instead of a regular sand and soup) " You wanted what kind of bread with that?"

You can imagine the nightmare that has haunted me since.

Saturday morning I was actually MORE anxious knowing the stress and pressure I was going to have to endure on the weekend.

So, needless to say I have entered a world that has not greeted me kindly. Even though I am thankful that I am beginning to learn all the steps in the touch screen register, I hate having to learn a new thing that I truly have no pride in. I wish I did, and maybe it will come in time, I don't know.


At 10:02 AM, Blogger moosey said...

i laughed out loud reading your blog. i've worked in retail many times and have worked in food, but nothing like that. and i have to say i can't even imagine anyone not thinking that you're cool. that's absurd. those young whippersnappers will recognize your immense coolness soon enough.

you'll have to let me know when you're working so ethan and i can come and visit you. i promise i won't change any part of my order!
you'll be a pro in no time, i know it!

luv you!

At 5:15 PM, Blogger Kim said...

thanks! I work m-f usually 9-3. Come visit! It would be fun! Thanks for the encouragement!

At 10:42 AM, Blogger Frau Spotz said...

Oh my goodness, I can relate! I spent the entire summer looking for clerical work...There are PLENTY of clerical jobs available, and I am well qualified for them, but...nobody wanted to hire me. Soooo...I did what I had been avoiding doing all summer, and put my application in at the housekeeping department at the resort.

Of course, I got the job...The only job I did NOT want, I was offered, and they are willing to work around the schedule I've requested. It's doing convention setup, not cleaning rooms, which isn't all bad.

This was about two weeks ago, and I am still learning the ropes...and I'd better learn them fast, because the person training me is going on layoff soon, and I'll be flying solo!!! HELP!!!!

By the way, if it's any comfort whatsoever, it is hard to actually be cool in work uniform, I don't care what anyone says! :)

Love you! Congrats on the least it's a paycheck, right?

At 3:50 PM, Blogger Sonflowergurl said...

Hey, look on the bright least you're not flipping greasy burgers down the street at Mickey D's!!! I feel your pain, but hey, there's a Panera in New Tampa...."hint hint!"

Okay, I'll quit being a pain. I'm glad you were able to find something that works around your schedule, and honestly...working at Panera might just be cool once you get the hang of do get a discount, right?!?

At 2:42 PM, Blogger Kim said...

yes, the paycheck is a bonus and the 65% off of food while i work is a great benefit! I have never eaten so much Panera food! It has been fun trying new things. Only weird thing is now seeing people I went to High School with (the mall is in the same city as my highschool).

At 2:57 PM, Blogger Daron said...

Oh, you remind me why I quit Starbucks!! :)

At 7:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I stumbled across your journal entry when I was looking up a location for Planet Bread, and I couldn't help but read it. :3 I've recently been employed at Panera after working for two months at Target (which was hell on a stick, especially in the Food Avenue area) and the scatterbrained mind of myself lost the paper that they give you at orientation about Planet Bread, so I'm trying to find out just which Marriott branch Planet Bread is in. I know it's in the Marriott, at least ... xD

Anyway, after stumbling across and reading your journal entry about your first few days at Panera, I decided to comment and allow you to know just how amused I was by your 'misfortune.' xD; I'm seventeen years old, going into my second job (Today is also my last day at Target, thank whatever higher being there is up there), and very excited, yet also quite nervous about this 'Planet Bread' thing and working in an entirely new area.

So, in short, thanks for making my day. ^^

- Erika

At 2:21 PM, Anonymous VAL said...

I was looking up Planet Bread when i found your blog. I just got my job at Panera and i am excited since my friends all work there, but also a little nervous, my orientation is on Saturday and planet bread starts next Thursday, I still can't believe i have to sit through a 3 1/2 hour presentation on how Panera got their name... >:-<

At 5:18 PM, Anonymous Jenn said...

lol, i know what you mean. i'm looking forward to my first audit tomorrow and i came across your page trying to find the company values. lol, nice blog!

At 6:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can relate. I was trained to do line then they took me off line then bakery then gave me my own register. Then my manager spazed out when I told him I never went to Planet Bread.....does anyone know where one is???

At 3:46 PM, Blogger Kim said...

You'll have to talk to your manager about where it go. He should be able to tell you when and where.

At 12:48 PM, Blogger Clare said...

Aha. Your blog was fantastic.
I've been working at Panera for two weeks, and I have to go to Planet Bread tomorrow. I've already done dining room and bakery and barista, and I'm not looking forward to the whole Planet Bread thing. Thanks for the heads up - I won't wear my hat. Ahah.

Let the breaducation begin.
( freaking gayyy. )

At 11:29 AM, Blogger Lenny said...

Wow, I can totally relate to all of these comments. I tried getting the clerical job all summer (even though I have a BS) then finally had to suck it up and apply for the retail and resturant shops. I had 3 different Panera locations call me within a week! I picked one outside the mall since I don't want to deal with all that at Christmas time. Good luck, I'm heading to Planet Bread tonight. Hoping they have good coffee!

At 9:49 AM, Blogger Ally_Cat18 said...

I can totally relate!I just started working at my local Panera about a month ago. I have gone from dining room,to the line,and now i work the closing shift on the bakery registers.Working through the rushes on register is so much harder than some people may think!Especially with those damn indecisive people,haha.But i will say i love working there!

At 9:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I laughed my butt off. I am actuall the guy that teaches Planet Bread (not yours, i'm in Ohio). I have worked for Panera over 2 years and your right, it certainly does have it's challanges and frustrations. What I do have to say is the people are awsome. The company is great, yes, but the group I work with is as close as a family. I hope you have great experiances while you are at Panera! And enjoy the food!

At 8:28 AM, Anonymous MarineWife06 said...

I just started at Panera, in fact in about an hour this morning I am heading over to Planet Bread-I hope it goes well! I like the job so far, i was on the floor training and being a back up baker for 8 hours yesterday, but honestly....the damn people that chance the menu drive me INSANE-I will never myself do it to anyone again! lol good luck!

At 2:03 AM, Anonymous TheOneThatLikesBubbles said...

You're post was a nice read! i am getting employed at Panera. i had an interview with the general manager of my area today, i was so nervous. But i was looking up experiences at Planet Bread, and found this. its sort of amusing to read someones misfortunes but i am sure all is well now! thanks for the awesome post. :) I cant wait to work there =]

At 12:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I have to go to Planet Bread today.. And let me just say that your blog did not make me excited at all.. =/

At 4:58 PM, Blogger Kimmy said...

This blog was written over 4 years ago and I still laugh at the comments I get. For all who stumble across it, I did become great at the register and enjoyed the job while I had it. Good luck to all who are just joining the "Panera World".

At 3:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was laughing as I was reading along but with you and not at you.
A word of coution/warning: having worked at Panera myself, I found that their food is quite detrimental to a rather fit and lean silhouette.
Also, to the young and hip employees that made you feel like a dork, well one day (more like every quarter) an auditor/evaluator will be sent from corporate and those associates will be written up for not wearing their hats and nametags.
I'd be more concerned with being on good if not great terms with the managers since they are the ones who evaluate your work and decide how much of a raise you get if at all (the increments aren't great, but you get them very often so they do add up overtime!!).
You chose a good company to work for, one that truly respects its employees.
Courage and regards.

At 12:31 PM, Blogger ShawCox said...

I've been working at Panera for two weeks and I'm just now going to planet bread. I can't imaging being put on the register on your second day.

So far things have been pretty miserable except for the employees. My managers and coworkers are wonderful. Yesterday though I was put on dining room and dish for the lunch rush. I busted tail all day but just couldn't keep up with everything. Woo!
I'm taking this journey with you. I hope you can find the strength and calm to keep going. Thank you for sharing

At 1:40 PM, Blogger Kimmy said...

Thanks for your post, ShawCox. This was written back in 2006 and it actually worked out really well during my time working there. I hope things go smoothly for you! Good luck!


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