On Wednesday, July 24, the new bakery-café Panera in Ponte Vedra Beach opened for breakfast at 10 a.m. For many residents, however, the opening caught them off-guard and some customers were even irate.
Members of the MyPanera rewards program, received an email offer for a free “You Pick Two for a Year” certificate to first 100 customers of the Ponte Vedra location. But the announcement advertised the opening date of Thursday, July 25 at 6 a.m., the day after the store actually opened for the first time. When a line of customers formed the morning of July 25 to receive the offer, the staff wasn’t able to offer them the deal.
“I had gone up there and waited in line for 30 minutes,” Ashley Burrell said. “When we got up there to the manager, he basically (said he) gave them out yesterday and he only gave out (free drink) coupons. I have to say, I thought it was wrong that they sent out the email and that they didn’t have anything for (us).”
Burrell said that at 6 a.m. on July 25, there were from 80 to 100 people standing in line for the restaurant to open.
In an email Burrell received from corporate customer care, the representative apologized and said he had “four emails in the last hour” about the incident and although he “didn’t want to throw the café under the bus,” he was “shocked.” He advised her to reach out to the location and speak to the general manager but at the time did not offer a certificate of equal value to the one stated in the original email.
Panera recently sent the following statement to the Ponte Vedra Recorder regarding the mix-up.
“We apologize for the misunderstanding that resulted because of a shift in the cafe’s opening date. Our team works hard to maintain our construction timelines, but sometimes the timeline does change due to circumstances out of our control. We know that because of the MyPanera email, customers made plans to come out to the cafe on Thursday to participate in the promotion. On Thursday, we made sure to take contact information of those who were interested so that we could follow up with the original promotion promised.”
In addition, they ask for any customers affected by the confusion to reach out to their customer care center at panera.custhelp.com/app/ask.