Panera Bread Interview

How to Get the Job

This page is designed to help you get ready for an interview with Panera Bread.  Review the questions, interview overview section and watch our special video interviews (we talk to former employees) below.

Interview Questions

Why Do You Want to Work for Panera Bread?

When answering this question, it’s important to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the company and show that you’ve done some research.

Here’s a structured way to approach your response:

  1. Express Your Interest: Start your answer by expressing your genuine interest in working for Panera Bread. You can say something like, “I’ve always been interested in working for Panera Bread because of its reputation as a well-respected and customer-focused company.”
  2. Highlight Your Alignment with Company Values: Explain how your personal values align with Panera Bread’s mission and values. For example, if Panera emphasizes quality ingredients and a commitment to community, you might say, “I’m drawn to Panera’s commitment to using fresh and high-quality ingredients in its menu items, which aligns with my passion for food quality and customer satisfaction.”
  3. Mention Your Appreciation for the Brand: Share your positive experiences as a customer, if applicable. Mention a specific aspect of Panera Bread that you appreciate, such as their diverse menu options, clean and welcoming atmosphere, or their dedication to giving back to the community. For instance, “I’ve been a longtime customer of Panera Bread and have always appreciated the diverse menu options and the welcoming environment they provide.”
  4. Emphasize Skills and Qualities: Discuss how your skills, qualifications, and personal qualities make you a great fit for the company. Tailor this part of your response to the specific role you’re applying for. For instance, if you’re applying for a cashier position, you can say, “I believe my strong interpersonal skills and attention to detail make me well-suited for the cashier role at Panera Bread.”
  5. Mention Career Goals: Connect your desire to work at Panera Bread with your long-term career goals. Explain how this job can contribute to your professional growth. For example, “I see working at Panera Bread as an opportunity to gain valuable experience in the food industry, which aligns with my long-term goal of becoming a chef.”
  6. Show Enthusiasm for the Team: Express your excitement about being part of the Panera Bread team and working with its employees. You can say something like, “I’m really excited about the prospect of joining the Panera Bread team and contributing to its success. I’ve heard great things about the people who work here and believe it would be a positive and collaborative work environment.”
  7. Conclude with a Positive Note: Wrap up your answer by reiterating your enthusiasm and interest in the position. You can say, “In summary, I want to work for Panera Bread because I admire the company’s values, appreciate the brand, and believe my skills and goals align perfectly with the opportunities here.”

Other Interview Questions and Topics to Expect

Recruiting personnel tend to ask standard questions that cover availability, transportation, education, and strengths. Some interviews may include situational questions that address customer service scenarios such as:

With no tricky or intimidating questions, hiring officials keep interviews simple and straightforward.

As a company committed to employee satisfaction, recruiters also ask interview questions covering satisfaction with pay, interest in growth, and preferred hours.

Interview Process

Typically, job seekers vying for entry-level jobs with Panera Bread undergo a brief one-on-one interview session. Often, interviews are conducted at open house or hiring events.

Managers or shift leaders generally conduct interviews and keep the hiring process casual and friendly.

Managerial Interviews

Candidates hoping for higher positions, such as management jobs, undertake several stages of interviews. Managerial candidates typically need to answer questions about supervisory and restaurant experience. Some specific interview questions aspiring managers face include:

Management interviews may also include panel reviews, personality tests, drug screening, and background checks.

How to Stand Out

Panera Bread needs dedicated, hardworking employees able to adapt to fast-paced and constantly evolving atmospheres. Job hopefuls should attend interviews on time and dressed in business-casual clothing or professional attire.

Previous customer service experience may benefit applicants during the interview process, as candidates should use past examples from previous jobs to illustrate ability to perform expected responsibilities. During the interview, applicants should express motivation to work for the eatery and passion for providing quality food.

Insider Tips

Take a look at some of our exclusive video interviews with former employees.  They tell us what their interviews were like.

Panera Bread Associate Interview Video

Video Transcript

Interviewer: Please describe your job title and primary duties.
Panera Bread Associate: When I started at Panera Bread I was an associate, so I started by cleaning the dining room, bringing food to customers. At the time, the store I was at, we ran food to tables, so I started doing that.

Interviewer: What was the work environment like?
Panera Bread Associate: It was fun. It was upbeat, fairly casual but fast-paced.

Interviewer: How would you describe the application and interview process?
Panera Bread Associate: When I started, I think they still had paper applications that you get from the store. I actually picked up an application and I lost it. I had it in the glove box of my car and I couldn’t find a job and I found it, and brought it in. Panera Bread’s very big on meeting applicants, so it’s very good if you can give it to the manager on duty, preferably not at a time when there’s a line out the door. I had an initial interview with an assistant manager and it was pretty quick, 10 minutes, pretty casual, basic interview questions and then about a week later I got a call from the general manager and had an interview with him, as well.

Interviewer: What set you apart from other candidates?
Panera Bread Associate: I think when I came in, the manager was at a table writing a schedule, so she wasn’t quite accessible, but the employee told me where she was and I walked right over, introduced myself, made eye contact, shook her hand, gave her my application, told her why I was excited to work there, potentially, and things like that. I think if you take that extra step and be personable with the managers on duty that you’re turning your application into, it’ll really set you apart.

Interviewer: How were you notified that you received the job?
Panera Bread Associate: I was actually told right then on the spot. They told me just come in on, I believe, it was a Friday I had my second interview with the general manager and then he told me to come in on Monday and we’ll send you to a training class and we’ll do the rest of your paperwork and things like that.

Panera Bread Sandwich Line Associate Interview Video

Video Transcript

Interviewer: Please describe your job title and primary duties.

Panera Bread Employee: At Panera, I worked in the sandwich line. Our primary focus was you create the sandwiches, put the soups in bowls or to-go containers, just make sure the food got along the line as quick as possible.

Interviewer: What was the work environment like?

Panera Bread Employee: They place generally a lot of teenagers – the managers were in their twenties, so it was a really young environment. Everybody related really good to each other, so we got along for the most part.

Interviewer: What was your favorite part about working there?

Panera Bread Employee: My favorite part was probably the coworkers. The coworkers really helped support each others; if we saw the others lacking, they’re usually big about helping your coworkers. I liked how they put that into the work environment.

Interviewer: Please describe a typical day as an employee.

Panera Bread Employee: Clock in, inquire from a manager which part of the sandwich line you’re working in – the sandwich, the soup, or the salad side – and from there, you stock your materials you use to make the sandwiches – the bread, meat – just make sure everything is fresh. From there, you just make sandwiches until close and help put away and seal all the containers.

Interviewer: How would you describe the application and interview process?

Panera Bread Employee: I applied in person. They had a paper application still. I applied, and about a week later, I got a call that said they wanted me to come in and interview. They just asked a couple of questions. Not so many about work, but more about my personal life, school, what kind of friends did I hang out with, just in general what kind of things I enjoy. I think they’re trying to get a feel of you as a person and not just a worker, which I kind of appreciated.

Interviewer: What questions did the interviewer ask during the job interview?

Panera Bread Employee: They wanted to know what kind of worker you were going to be, but at the same time what you were like outside of work. So, they asked questions, like: “What do you enjoy to do in your free time?”, “What are you going to school for?”, “What kind of friends do you hang out with?” It really seemed like they were trying to get the whole picture, not just, “Is this person going to be a good worker here?” They’re trying to do what’s best as far as you as a worker and them as an employer.

Interviewer: What other advice would you give to a job seeker looking to gain employment?

Panera Bread Employee: Just go in, be yourself, be honest. They want to know you as a person. They want to know where they can put you in their store and benefit them as much as you. So, just be yourself and know it’s a good place to work at and just go in with open arms.

More Panera Bread Interview Videos:


  • Sarah says:

    For your interview look presentable. Have neat fingernails, hair, makeup and clothes. Wear dress-pants or a skirt to the knee and a nice looking top. Keep eye contact. They are looking for personality so smile and look happy and be bubbly. Get a good night sleep so you don’t look tired.

    They will ask you about your previous jobs if you had any. They want to know what you liked and disliked about them. If no job history they want to know about yourself and what you can bring to the company.

    At my Panera Bread they give me 50% off the menu. However, I’ve heard of others giving 65% off. They are very flexible in their hours. So if you are a college student this job is a great one to have.

    The dress code is khaki pants and polo shirts without logos. They have a no visible tattoo policy.

    For me the starting pay at my Panera is $7.75 an hour.

    Hope this helps!

  • Bianca says:

    Hi, I just had an interview with Panera Bread and I am kind of worried if I will get a call back. It has only been 2 days, 3 days tomorrow but they did tell me I will get a call back before or on the weekend coming up. They also mentioned that at orientation they will have about 5 people there at one time…Since he told me all this does this mean I got the job?

  • miranda jorge says:

    i had just aplying to day for severol position ; like dishwasher – salad maker-customer servirce-dining room crew-and i have the positively to work; and agree stronglly responsible to make a good work with all of thems soon.

  • art downs says:

    i Am trying to get to the place to fill out application for panera bread. i cant seem to get there.i have 17 years experience as a scratch Baker. i hop someone will help me.

  • becky says:

    Hi I have a second interview at panera bread so im guessing they like me but what do they mostly do for second interview at panera bread?

  • Kayla says:

    For my interview they asked about why I wanted to work at Panera, what places I choose to eat at and why, After the 1st interview they set up a following interview for the very next day, the 2nd interview they asked most of the same questions and at the end the General manager hired me on the spot! that was last week, today I go in for orientation, they told me to come in with khakis a polo and “slip safe” shoes. The man who hired me even told me exactly where I could find them nearby. A friend of mine told me orientation is about an hour long, so i guess i will find out that today. Also for both interviews they offered me a free drink, which i accepted both times to be polite but i decided to get the water from the soda fountain (free to customers) because its water lol and i dont drink sodas much. I’m ready n dressed for my orientation even though it’s a while away because i have to go straight from school.

  • Evan says:

    I just went in for my manager interview at a locale panera bread cafe. It lasted about 45 minutes. The Dm asked me situational questions and they all were answered to my knowledge the best i knew how. I was dressed in a shirt and tie and black pants. I was very smiley and kept eye contacted through the whole interview. At then end of the interview he said that he will be contacted with me with in the next few days. Can anyone tell me if this is a bad sign or a good sign?

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