Panera Bread is one of the most prominent bakery-cafe fast-casual restaurants with over 2000 locations. It operates in the United States and Canada and has several openings for job seekers. In case you are eyeing a position in Panera Bread, these are some of the questions that you should expect:
1. Why Do You Want To Work For Us?
Why do you what to work at Panera Bread? You should convince the interviewer that this is not just any regular dining place that you can opt to work in. Make them feel special by finding anything praiseworthy about them and highlighting it. You can talk about its menu compared to other restaurants in its category or the fact that it supports healthy eating. All in all, make them feel special.
I understand just how much obesity has ravaged the United States and appreciate that you are at the forefront of championing healthy eating. I, therefore, prefer working for such an establishment. I also love your working environment, which greatly advocates for teamwork. Having been part of several teams before, I know just how essential collaboration is for any organization.
2. What Do You Know About Us?
What can you tell the interviewer about Panera Bread? Always strive to find out as much information as possible about an establishment before you appear for the interview. It will help you convince the interviewer that you are enthusiastic and willing to give your all. However, make sure that everything you mention is factual.
With its headquarters in St Louis, Missouri, Panera Bread has a rich catalog consisting of freshly baked bread, bagels and spreads, soups, salads, paninis, flatbreads, sandwiches, drinks, and a kids menu. Customers can choose to either order products online or arrange for pickup. The first branch was opened in 1981. ( A look at the company’s website will reveal a lot of things about it that you should know)
3. Why Should We Hire You?
It helps to prepare always for this interview question regardless of the position you are interviewing for. What can you bring to the workplace that should convince the interviewer to hire you? Take a look at the job description once more and identify the skills and experience needed for the particular position. Convince the interviewer that you have all it takes to succeed in this job.
This is my tenth year as a chef. I mostly prepare healthy products, which form the majority of your offerings. I am therefore widely experienced in the products you deal with and would love a chance to showcase my skills. I will be an excellent addition to the workplace as it will also allow me to explore my creative side.
4. What Hours Will You Be Available?
Most of the jobs in Panera Bread are part-time positions that greatly rely on your availability. Therefore, be honest with the interviewer and accurately comment on when you will be free to focus on your job. Think through your schedule and identify the shifts you can take once you start working at Panera Bread. Also, ensure that your answer convinces the interviewer that you are flexible.
I am available for afternoon shifts, given that I have classes in the morning. I can also extend till your closing time. I don’t have a problem working over the weekends since I am majorly free. I am also willing to step in on holidays if called upon.
5. Briefly Mention Your Experience
This is a chance to tell the interviewer some places you have worked in, jobs you have taken up, or roles you have perfected in. Ensure that you sell yourself while keeping it short and sweet. You can talk about any restaurant experience you have had, even welcoming customers to the premises. All relevant experiences count. However, let them know if this is your first job if you don’t have any tangible experience.
I can’t point at any tangible experience I have in this field, given that I have been in school for the major part of my life. However, I have people and customer service skills which will help me do a great job if given a chance. I am also diligent and able to work under pressure; traits to help me build a career.
6. Comment About Your Attendance In Your Last Job
Such questions require you to be honest with the interviewer. Remember, a simple phone call can uncover whatever you are trying to protect and ruin your chances of landing the job. Make sure that you emphasize that you know the importance of punctuality and reporting to work regularly.
I am generally passionate about my job and take it seriously. I, therefore, had perfect attendance in my former workplace. I would give reasonable notice if I had somewhere to be or couldn’t manage to report to work., which was rare.
7. Who Are Our Competitors?
Can you mention a few establishments giving Panera Bread a run for their money? The correct answer will tell the interviewer that you have researched the organization and identified a few essential pieces of information. Also, ensure that you only mention-worthy competitors or the hiring manager may think that you are underestimating them.
Given your niche, you have several competitors. However, the main ones are Tim Horton, Starbucks, Krispy Kreme, and Dunkin’. (These are just a few worthy competitors. You can mention as many as you want)
8. Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?
This is more of a background check. The interviewer wants to know why you left your last job and are resorting to the current one. Do not mention anything negative about your previous employer or any material reason. Also, make sure that you are honest since just a phone call can establish such information.
My last job was terrific. It helped me advance careerwise and improve my skills. However, I felt that I needed new challenges given that I had stayed there for seven years. I decided to give this job a try the moment I saw your advertisement. I believe that it will expose me to new challenges and make me better.
9. How Do You Stay Motivated In This Job?
Working at Panera Bread requires you to be highly motivated. There are several challenges that you are likely to face which may easily demotivate you. Do not mention any material reason, or you risk losing your only chance. Talk about an intrinsic factor that will sell you or convince the interviewer that you deserve the job.
I consider myself a self-motivated person. I have goals and dreams that I work hard to achieve and cannot slack till I realize them. I also appreciate challenges and take great pride in overcoming them. Lastly, I usually look back at some of the things I have achieved whenever I face challenging situations or feel like giving up.
10. Mention Your Greatest Weakness
Such questions help the interviewer know more about you. Mention a weakness that is not critical to the job description to be safe. You can also mention something that you can easily work on. Do not mess yourself up by citing anything that will make you look incompetent.
I believe that my greatest weakness is perfectionism. I usually strive to achieve the best possible output and ensure that everything turns out just like I envisioned them. However, I am constantly working to overcome this challenge and better myself. I believe that I will successfully deal with it over time.
11. How Would You React If A Coworker Did Something You Didn’t Like Or Approve Of?
The interviewer wants to know if you can work well with others and promote teamwork in the workplace. Panera Bread highly values collaborative work since most of the roles are interdependent Show the interviewer that you can deal well with office conflicts without resorting to authorities every time.
I believe in handling conflicts unanimously without involving my superiors first. If it is a small one, I would discretely talk to the colleague, explain where they went wrong, and remedy the situation. However, if it is something major or they repeat it, I would inform the manager to take necessary action. ( Ensure that your answer shows tack and teamwork)
12. Can You Tell Me About Your Future Plans?
The interviewer wants to know how long they can count on you. Everybody wants an employee who will grow in the company, given that employee training and absorption are pretty expensive. However, it’s not mandatory to have such plans since the hiring managers also know that most people treat Panera as the first step in their career journey. However, show them that you are willing to stay at Panera for at least six months.
I plan to finish school and venture more into this industry. I will definitely come back here if I get a chance after graduation. However, I want to start my restaurant in the future and serve customers, just like we do here. I believe that this job will equip me with valuable lessons.
13. What Would You Do If A Customer Received A Wrong Order?
You should expect many situational questions related to customer service when interviewing for a position at Panera Bread. This is mainly because this entity is primarily concerned about customer satisfaction and therefore expects you to do anything in your power to uphold it. Therefore, know how to frame your answer.
I would apologize to the customer for the inconvenience and double-check the correct order. I would then prioritize the order in the queue and ensure that the food is delivered as fast as possible before apologizing again and ensuring they leave with a smile.
14. Have You Ever Had To Solve A Difficult Situation In Your Job? Please Share With Us
This is an open question that does not restrict you to any particular job or situation. It doesn’t matter whether the situation was about dealing with an unhappy customer or struggling with a colleague. Just make sure that whatever you mention portrays you as a problem solver and someone able to deal with whatever comes your way. You should also show a proactive approach to work.
While working as a restaurant manager, employees threatened to down their tools, and some even left for home. We were thoroughly understaffed and unable to serve the customers. Most of my fellow managers hid in their offices to avoid facing the wrath of the employees. I summoned courage, quieted them, and assured them that we were working on their concerns. I even told them that they should hold me accountable if their plight were ignored. They listened, were convinced, and went back to work.
15. What Are Your Strengths?
It would help if you treated this question as a chance to sell yourself. Talk about the qualities you possess that will help you live up to the provided job description. Make sure that you mention only relevant strengths that will help you deliver exceptional service to the customer. You should also prepare for any follow-up questions that the interviewer is likely to throw your way.
I have an array of skills that I believe will come in handy in this job. They include communication skills, listening skills, working under pressure, conflict resolution ability, teamwork spirit, and attention to detail. I also have lots of people skills to help me interact well with others.
16. Do You Know Anyone Else Who Works Here? What Did They Tell You?
The interviewer wants to know if someone referred you to this particular job and what employees feel about the workplace. This question, therefore, helps the interviewers know more than you. Be honest. However, avoid mentioning negative information that someone told you about this particular workplace.
My brother worked here while in college. He has lots of good things to say about your entity and even encouraged me to apply. He believes that he couldn’t have made it through college without the money he made working as a customer care attendant here. ( Or you can mention a current employee that had good things to say about this entity.)
17. Do You Know Our Values?
How much do you know about this organization? Do you know some of their values and guiding principles? Such questions are why we advise people to find out as much as possible about an organization before the interview. Make sure that you get it right.
You are highly centered around customer satisfaction. Therefore, your central values are respected and being customer-centric. I believe that they have greatly aided in the smooth running of this company.
18. Do You Know Our Target Market?
You cannot work in any entity if you do not know who they are targeting. The interviewer wants to know just how conversant you are with Panera Bread and its customer base. You can mention a specific demographic or type of eaters. Look at their menu and figure out who they are targeting.
Based on your menu, you are mainly targeting a consumer demographic ranging from 5 to 50 years. This is quite tactful since it also includes millennials, the main drivers of the consumer market.
19. Share With Us Your Greatest Achievement
You have definitely had your successes in this field. Look at everything you have achieved in the position you are interviewing for and identify the most prominent. Make sure that you talk about it passionately and with great enthusiasm. It would be best if you showed the interviewer that you take great pride in your achievements.
In my former job, I came up with a new menu item that saw the restaurant retain several customers and make huge sales. Something that started as a trial meal ended up being one of the best-selling items on our menu. The restaurant manager recognized my efforts and compensated me well. That is definitely my most outstanding achievement.
20. Mention A Time That You Failed In This Role And The Lesson You Learnt
This is a common question in interviews to ascertain if you can be accountable and learn from your mistakes. Do not blame others for whatever went wrong but own them and clearly outline the lesson you learned. Remember to focus more on the lesson and less on the mistake itself.
I could not account for over $40 at the end of my shift. I had a deficit and couldn’t establish where the money went to. I paid from my pocket to cover the debt. This experience taught me always to be careful and cross-check records when handling money.
These are some of the questions that you should look out for in Panera Bread interviews. Convince the interviewer that you can deliver if given a chance, and the job will be yours. We wish you all the best.