Panera Bread is best known as the biggest bakery bistro founded in 1981 by Ron Shaich. As of today, there are 1,946 bakery cafes in 46 states of the U.S with a focus on offering its customers the best quality of food, both with good taste and good for health.

At Panera Bread, friendly and open work environment is significantly emphasized. The company’s human resource strategy is to foster a workplace that promotes leadership and teamwork, where helping one another is the value. Top managers at Panera Bread also make best efforts in empowering employees. Staff members take control of their daily work and feel comfortable approaching supervisors to discuss their problems or suggestions for improvements.

Job offers for the store staffs are advertised through newspapers, as well as through recruitment notices at each Panera front door. Applicants who respond to the advertisements are invited for interviews. Applicants go through two rounds of interviews – one with the senor area manager and one with the operations manager. Job applicants are screened primarily for their level of commitment and willingness to work shifts. Recruiting requirements are not too strict on food and beverage prior experience but focus significantly on candidates’ behaviors and attitudes such as honesty, integrity, and hardworking. The company believes that if an applicant can learn necessary skills easily with a good attitude and commitment. Successful applicants go through two weeks of training, followed by two-month probation. Most of Panera’s workers in its headquarters based in Maryland, Texas, and Michigan are more than 30 years old because mature workers generally have better work attitudes and exhibit a higher level of job commitment.

A majority of the outlet’s staff are full-time workers with some additional part-time staff hired to complement the full-time staff when they go on vacation or become ill. The usual operating hours of each store are from 7:00AM to 11:00PM., and the staff members work eight-hour shifts. Each store has about 15 staff members working each of the two shifts. The emphasis on good attitudes, behaviors, and character in the selection of store staff has helped Panera build a pool of hardworking and committed employees. When selecting store managers from among the store staff, loyalty, honesty, and fairness are considered the most important attributes. All of these workplace characteristics help keep employees happy and engaged, which Panera believes have translated into them serving customers well.

The main CHALLENGE Panera faces is recruiting employees with the right attitudes, because the technical food and beverage skills are relatively easy to learn. Some applicants are unwilling to work shifts, making recruitment challenging for Panera; shift work is inevitable in the food and beverage retail industry.

Answers the following questions

a. What are the advantages and disadvantages of Panera’s hiring part-time workers?

b. A good attitude and commitment are two important attributes that Panera looks for in its job applicants. Is a job interview an effective method to assess these two attributes? Explain your answer. What else can Panera do to get reliable information on these two attributes?

c. Besides the two recruiting methods mentioned in the case, what are other source of candidates that Panera can explore to improve its current recruiting process?


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