Waukesha Residents See Their First Panera Bread Restaurant Open Dec. 14

January 04, 2017

Waukesha Residents See Their First Panera Bread Restaurant Open Dec. 14

Panera Bread officially opened its doors to Waukesha residents on Dec. 14, offering them fresh warm bread that will satisfy their appetites of the popular chain.

Months of rumors regarding Panera Bread's incoming to the area had only recently been confirmed. It's located at the Fox River shopping center.

Steve Armstrong, a Joint Venture Partner, was excited about the restaurant opening in the Waukesha community. He's heard all kinds of questions and comments about a good location for the company. The closest Panera Bread to the community was in New Berlin or Pewaukee (depending on where residents lived in the city).

It's taken a year, but the wish to have a Panera Bread has been fulfilled.

Armstrong said the company was glad it could establish itself in the Waukesha community. Despite being officially opened, the news hasn't been widely mentioned. Armstrong said that's intentional - soft openings are how Panera operates so that staff members don't feel overwhelmed.

While the weather was a bit nippy, Armstrong said people still lined up early in the morning. The first 100 people were provided a year' worth of free You Pick Two selections (a menu option that lets people combine two half portions of food to create a meal for themselves).

The first 200 people signed up for the My Panera Card were provided a free mug. Anybody who ordered their food through the kiosk attained a free cookie.

How Has Panera Bread Been So Successful

Panera Bread was first established in the late 1980s and has more than 2,000 locations in the U.S. and Canada.

Armstrong said it established itself as a fast/casual restaurant business, and many of the foods it offers are healthy. He said the variety the restaurant offers is really good.

David Stedman is a Panera Bread general manager and has worked with the company for two years. He lives in the Muskegon region but has noted the Waukesha area is filled with passionate employees and customers.

He said there are 30 high school students working for the restaurant.

How customers can order their meals is also unique. The customers can use the app and have their food delivered to their seat. They are also drive-thru and kiosk options for customers to use. Stedman said a delivery option would be available within the next few months for the Waukesha restaurant.