I enjoy eating at Panera. I think their food is pretty decent and I like to work there as well. As I write this great idea, I’m in a Panera in Deerfield, Illinois. We’re visiting family and since everyone is asleep, I snuck out early to get a couple hours of work in. I had a nice experience and wanted to share it with you.
This Panera opened at 7:00 on Sundays. But at about 6:50 or so the manager opened the doors and waved for me to come in. Nice move. I ordered a bagel and a green tea and gave Mariam a $5.00 bill to pay for it. She handed me my food and I looked at the receipt and the total was $5.03; she never said a word; I asked her if she needed the 3 cents, she said, “Of course not, sir, enjoy.” Really Nice Move. I sat down with my bagel and before I could turn around to go get my drink at the coffee bar, here comes Dusty from behind the counter with my drink. Another really nice move.
Look, none of what they did there at Panera was incredible; it was very nice. But it was good service; I felt valued; I felt important. When your clients feel valued and important, they will come back. You create an emotional bond with them. And so many businesses don’t do the little things Panera does well that you can stand out by doing them. Don’t think so?
When was the last time you went to a chain fast food place or chain grocery store and felt valued? I’m going to guess not very recently. Panera is a chain that has a lot of things figured out. A lot of things we small business people would be smart to copy. As I have said countless times, “Little Things Make a BIG Difference!”