The music at Panera

soup at paneraFile this under "Things We Hate About Places We Love." Panera is kind of a home away from home for the AOA staff. You might even call it one of our "satellite offices." We're usually there a few days a week for the tomato soup, free wi-fi and bottomless soft drinks. We realllllly like Panera. So what we say now, we say out of genuine concern. It's for everyone's good, trust us.

But, Panera, what's up with the freakin' Musak? (OK, we're not sure if it's technically Musak, but we do know it's pretty bad) Seriously... the food is good, the fireplace is nice, the comfy chairs and cozy booths; it's like you really want us to drop by and hang out. Then you hit us with a saxophone version of "No Ordinary Love" that would put Kenny G to sleep. Twice. Really, is that a song that needs to be slower? Let us help you. The answer is no. And what you did to Stevie Wonder the other day should be a crime. We should have reported you to authorities.

So, we don't mean to complain Panera. You do so much so well, but would a little actual Stevie Wonder kill you? Of if it has to be something instrumental, maybe some good jazz?


Here's an opportunity for a large chain operation like Panera to engage in some great community PR. They should play EXIT 977 in-store instead of the canned muzak. 977 has created a considerable buzz in less than a year by playing great music by local artists every hour of the day. Incorporating some of that feel good local culture into their big chain marketing strategy strikes me as a win-win situation. I mean, it's a free deal here. All they have to do is tune their radios to EXIT 977.

I feel the same way about our Panera here in Greenville, NC. We don't have the fireplace.. or even the tomato soup anymore... but we do have the comfy chairs, endless drinks, and delicious salads and sandwiches, oh , and comfy chairs.

But this music makes me want to off myself. Yes, I am sitting in Panera right now with an aching headache.. waiting for my fiance to get off work. I feel even worse for the folks who work in these locations.

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