Panera Bread is a chain of “casual fast food” restaurants. Casual fast food is a new category in the restaurant industry; it is a cross between fast food and sit-down restaurant. In this category, you order your food in a counter and your order will be delivered to your table. Usually the decor and ambiance is that of a sit-down restaurant.
For this review I visited their La Verne (along Foothill Blvd.) and Rancho Cucamonga (also along Foothill Blvd.), California locations.
DECOR: Have you gone to new housing developments and look at their model homes? This is how their decor looks like. It looks like new housing model homes with mass-produced artworks hanging on their walls.
FOOD: Panera Bread is both a cafe and bakery. On the bakery side, they have bagels, artisan breads from ciabatta to sourdough, pastries, muffins, scones, sweet rolls, cookies and coffee cake. The cafe has sandwiches, panini, salads, soups and hot entrée.
I went to their restaurant for a late lunch to avoid the crowed. Ordered their half sandwich special called “You Pick 2” which came with a half sandwich (smoked turkey breast), soup (cream tomato). With a small fountain drink, my order came a little bit under $10. The sandwich is very good and the soup is good as well but the sandwich is too small. At $10, it is way expensive.
Their menu lists “You Pick 2” special comes with a cup of soap, half cafe sandwich and half cafe salad. The half salad wasn’t included in my order. The order taker did not asked what kind of salad I like. Did she forgot? I don’t know.
STAFF/SERVICE: My order was delivered in less than 10 minutes. The order taker at the counter can be a little bit more friendly.
CLEANLINESS: The restaurant is generally clean and orderly. They have a letter grade of “A” from the state of California. Their restroom is clean but the fountain drink area needs some housekeeping. The trash is almost overflowing and the counter needs to be wiped clean.
Overall, their food is good but it is too expensive for a cafe. The restaurant is Zagat rated and they list the nutritional content for each item.