Entries by Ricky Darbey

Gioia, Ellie and Emily

Lori, the General Manager from our Canfield, OH Panera Bread is so proud of her team members for exceling at work and outside of work! Three of her all-star associates, Gioia, Ellie, and Emily were all inducted into their high school’s National Honor Society together this past week. In celebration of this achievement, Lori is excited to bring attention to these amazing young women and their hard work!

Chloe Painter

Chloe has been employed with us for over 2 years. She has been such a great asset to our team by being reliable and a strong team player! She comes to work everyday very happy and always has a smile on her face. She is always ready to take on the day! She has really proven her worth, especially in these very different times. This is her graduation year, and like many other seniors, she is unable to celebrate. We made our cafe bulletin board a salute to her for graduating. We would like to recognize Chloe for going above and beyond EVERY day!

Taylor Bataille

For the last four years, PGA bakery-café employee, Taylor Bataille, has moved up through the ranks of Covelli Enterprises in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. And, as the café’s current Catering Coordinator, the sky is the limit! Taylor took over PGA’s catering role back in the middle of 2018, and has since taken the role very seriously with outstanding dedication and commitment, according to her district director, Marc Manopla. In 2019, Taylor oversaw an 18.2% Catering sales increase. That’s an increase of $48,160 in sales last year at PGA, boosting the cafe into the “$300,000 Club” in overall catering sales. “We are extremely proud of Taylor and cannot wait to see what she does going forward,” said Manopla. Way to go above and beyond expectations, Taylor!”

Jarell Cunningham

Strong closers are critical to the success of a café’s overall performance, and Jarell Cunningham of Cincinnati’s Gilmore bakery-café has got it down to a science! According to his general manager, Danielle Conley, Jarell is a consistent “closing crew star,” and one of her very best! In addition to being a reliable employee that she can count on to own the completion of daily tasks needed to successfully close out daily cafe operations, he’s an outstanding example of “Gold Standard” customer service. “He always has a positive and sunny attitude that translates to each customer he serves, “ said Conley. “And, he is always willing to help out anyone in the café, from associates to customers to managers, with a smile on his face.” THIS is true Panera Warmth, Jarell!

Neil Browder

Panera bakers are the backbone of operations for this brand, and Canton baker, Neil Browder, is no exception! From hundreds of bagels and cookies to bread bowls and croissants, Neil knocks it it out with ease every single night on his third shift gig while the rest of the Canton crew is resting up for standard daily operations the next day. “Neil keeps his standards and his spirit high no matter what is thrown at him,” says Darla Stecz, Bakery Market Manager. “He often goes out of his way to help fellow bakers either in his cafe or neighboring cafes. He is truly a team player, and we are proud to have him on our team.” Thank you, Neil, for your integrity and passionate work ethic!

Lynn Hillenbrand

A longtime employee at Cincinnati’s Gilmore café, associate Lynn Hillenbrand is a familiar face to many local residents who are regulars of the cafe. Customer-upon-customer submit positive comments about Lynn on a regular basis – one recently referring to Lynn as a “great face of the organization!” And from another, “Lynn is a wonderful employee. She does a good job and represents Panera bread very well.” In addition, Lynn’s café staff respect her amazing customer service and helpfulness. “We have around 20, if not more, regular customers that Lynn knows by name,” says the Gilmore general manager, Danielle Conley. “She engages them with the same warmth as though they were a friend coming over for a cup of coffee each morning.” According to Conley, Lynn is also always willing and ready to help around the café. From completing large orders in the morning, to filling soups for the line at lunch, Lynn goes the extra mile year-after-year!

The Dynamic Duo

The North Charleston dynamic duo at Ashley Phosphate, Tonyia Callier & Jenni Hubenthal, exemplify the epitome of the word “teamwork.” From taking our guests’ requests in a concise and thoughtful manner, to excellent collaboration and follow-through with each and every order that always goes above and beyond expectations, their General Manager, Becca Bryan, can’t say enough about these two employees. In addition to executing the “gold standard” with our guests, Becca says just their mere presence elevates morale. “They definitely have a true passion and love for their work and you can see it when you come into our café,” says Becca. In addition, Regional Director of Operations, Ashli Miles, couldn’t be more grateful to have these two as a part of her cafe region, and says it brightens her day when she walks into the Ashley Phosphate café and sees them working. “These employees have qualities that we can’t teach: they are friendly, positive, hardworking, and they also make the people around them better without even knowing it.” THANK YOU, “dynamic duo,” for being a true illustration of “Panera warmth!”

Ayrien Grissom

Even in the toughest of circumstances, Ayrien Grissom, Certified Trainer from Cincinnati’s Colerain bakery-café, puts forth her best effort to be genuinely friendly and helpful to every individual she encounters, from her fellow associates to the bakery-café guests. “It can be easy some days to grow tired or discouraged throughout a long shift, and Ayrien never complains, but continues to shine with kindness and helpfulness from the moment she walks in our bakery-café to the moment she leaves,” says her general manager, Becky Huber. In addition to working at Panera, Ayrien is also pursuing her college degree. But, according to Becky, “never treats her job as just a way to make money, but rather uses it to be a ‘shining star’ to everyone she meets.” Her coworkers value her dependability. Our guests value her amazing customer service. And, everyone that meets her values her genuine kindness. Thank you, Ayrien, for going the extra mile! And, thank you for just being YOU – one of our very best!

Robert “Bob” Rutledge

In and out of the cafe, Bob at our Independence, OH location in Cleveland, is the first to take initiative. He never minds going the extra mile to help out his entire team and guests. He makes everyone feel at home. Even on the tough days he can bring a smile to anyone’s face by singing one of his Irish songs. He never lets an employee’s birthday go unnoticed, and has been known for singing Happy Birthday tunes to several of our delivery customers. A customer wrote: “Robert always puts a smile on my face. I am so thrilled when I see he is going to be my delivery driver. We had a large breakfast order for our group and he made our morning. We love Robert.” What a guy! Thanks, Bob!