Is it o.k. for Panera to be out of Bread Bowls?

For those of you not familiar with Panera, here is a link to their website. Of course, if you’re not familiar with it then you probably don’t have a strong opinion to share.
I went to Panera today and ordered a bread bowl. As I put my order in, the food prep person called out to the order taker person that my order took the last bread bowl. No more bread bowls. Boy, did I breathe a sigh of relief. I would have been really sad not to get my bread bowl.

This did happen to me once before. Panera was out of bread bowls. I ordered soup in a non-edible bowl and got some bread on the side but it was a wholly disappointing experience.

I am sure there are people who consider themselves avid fans of Panera and yet have never ordered a bread bowl. There are lots of choices on the menu and if bread bowls just aren’t your thing, they could be out of bread bowls and you’d never notice.

For me, the bread bowl is the reason I go to Panera. I get in my car and think to myself “Oh boy! I’m going to get tomato soup in a bread bowl!” So, for me, for Panera to be out of bread bowls is analogous to McDonalds being out of burgers.

What do the rest of you think? Panera being out of bread bowls:
Like McDonalds being out of burgers?
More like Subway being out of avocados?
Somewhere in between?

I went to a Kenny Rodger’s one time and was told they had run out of chicken.

I asked the counter guy why they were open if they didn’t have chicken. He said they still had side orders.

Yes, I’m sure a lot of people went to Kenny Rodger’s to get a plate of rice.

I feel your pain. I personally am not a fan of the bread bowl, but that is one of their specialties and yes, it is comparible to say, Olive Garden running out of bread sticks. I’ve personally been pissed off more than once when there was no black bean soup left at 2:00 in the afternoon. I would let management know.Not in a “by God, someone must pay” sort of way, but it seems there’s been a breakdown in the system when one of the main products is unavailable.

It’s happened to me before. I wouldn’t have minded so much but I was with my daughter and it was one of the few chances we get to spend time together and she really, really wanted a bread bowl. It was like 5:00 on a Saturday. Seriously, just make a few extra :mad:

I am a fan of KFC crispy chicken, not the original stuff. Very often, however, I go to a KFC (3 sort of close to me) around noon and they are out of the crispy. I’m not sure whether it’s management or the staff, but you’d think that they would have plenty of all kinds of chicken at lunch time. Usually, I’ll just drive off.


Just like Popeye’s being out of spicy chicken - regular isn’t even worth it anymore. It’s such a letdown!

And sometimes, you can tell they’re running low on red beans when your red beans & rice is like 90% rice. Bastards!

LOL, first-world problems!

We tried to order a pizza once. We wanted the pizza promotion of the month at Dominos or Pizza Hut… you know the near dead horse that Pizza Hut likes to bring out from their stable in forced rotation…

The phone picks up, and the employee reads his script, pitching the promoted pizza that we wanted.

They were sold out.
Us : “Then why did you offer it to us?”

Them : “It’s on the paper we have to read.” **

Sort of related to the OP: Years ago when Caller ID was still worth something we started receiving calls at 5 a.m. from a Panera bread store. Most of the time they’d hang up without saying anything, but sometimes they’d start telling us what their morning order was. We let them know each time that they had the wrong number, and then we called their manager and let him know they had the wrong number, but they continued to call. Finally we started accepting their orders (6 dozen of this roll, 4 dozen of that pastry), then hung up and went to bed. It didn’t take them long to stop calling after that.

For me, Arby’s being out of potato cakes is unthinkable, and they’re always out of potato cakes at lunchtime. I can make a roast beef sandwich at home, but I don’t want to haul out the deep fryer for just a couple of tri-taters.

Ther is an El Pollo Chicken in Lakewood, CA that had been out of chicken more times than it has had chicken when we’ve been in there.

There was a Mexican place right around the corner that had tamales on the menu,and I love tamales. But they never seemed to have tamales when I ordered them. I stopped going because of that. When I want a tamale I accept no substitutes! :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m not sure what their waste policies are, but they’re only going to make as many as they think they can sell while still being able to serve them fresh, otherwise it’s money down the drain. It’s not like you can make a bread bowl while someone is waiting in line either.

Ages ago I was a manager at an Arby’s. Know why it’s called Arby’s? R.B. stands for roast beef, or so the lore goes. Anywho, one day we had a couple of busses come in right after the lunch rush, it was a perfect storm really. Those roasts take HOURS too cook, and yes they are made from frozen then thawed loaves of beef. Even when you try to speed the process up by halving a loaf and/or raising the temp, sometimes you just get caught with your pants down. The fact that my pants were down did not enter into the equation on this day though.

The drive through soon filled with people incredulously crowing “Yer outta WHUTTT? This is tha dang Arbeeeees!” I offered our turkey sandwiches, chicken sandwiches and fingers, Italian sub, appetizers, turnovers, and a squirt of Horsey sauce to the face, but most people had their hearts set on (and planned on damaging them with) beef.

By the time our emergency beef (band name!) was done, we were hitting a slow spot and all of our planning was out the window. We ended up with much more beef left over at night than we usually have, they don’t really re-use the beef the next day, maybe a small amount for the “you’ve been open two minutes give me four Big Montanas” kind of people.

Guess who’s little brother and his stoned little buddies got roast-beef-the-fuck-out that night?

But bread bowls can’t cost more than a few pennies. I agree that roasting a huge hunk of beef is an investment, but really a dozen extra bread bowls can’t cost more than $2.50, $3.50 tops. Having them on hand is probably worth the good will alone.

It’s not.

I missed this while posting. During the breakfast hours they almost can’t stock enough of them, seems some people equate them with hash browns. If they did give you some at lunch, chances are they had been there waiting for you for quite a while. It really only takes 3 mins IIRC to cook them, 5 at the max. They could tell you to pull up and then cook some so hot they would fuse your molars as you ate them. We had guys that demanded fresh chicken strips every time they came in, so we just dropped two orders when they walked in, they were fine with waiting the 5 mins or so.

Favorite Arby’s hack of mine: Chicken Parmesan. I was getting damn tired of the food there so I made a few changes and came up with what I thought was a winner.

Order a fried chicken sandwich with nothing but Swiss. They might have provolone now, but I chose Swiss as it was on the chicken Swiss sammie. That’s chicken, and cheese only on a bun.
Then get a packet of the marinara they serve with the mozzarella sticks (which are as insanely bad for you as you might think, but are pretty good for fast food).

Open sammie, put on marinara, close sammie, and eat that mutha. Upon tasting this deliciousness, you must remember that some random dude on the internet provided you with this knowledge, and you must grin because you have now defeated “the man”.

Ages ago, like late 80’s, Wendy’s used to have a recurring Chicken Parmesan sandwich which was just their fried chicken with marinara and maybe mozzarella. Since I last had it, I moved down the damn street from their national headquarters, and have been in numerous tasting sessions for new food and current menu item tweaks (paid of course :D). I have also appointed myself as a crusader for getting this back on the menu. This is 100% true.

Well maybe not a “crusader”, more like the guy who always whines about the Chicken Parm when we do taste tests. I do this at their research lab unashamedly.

Were we talking a bout Panera? I’m sorry for the hijack and my over-use of the word sammie which I understand may induce rage in some people.

I like Panera, but to be out of bread bowls would just make me think they were popular that day. It’s not like KFC being out of chicken; that’s what they serve. Panera has all kinds of sandwiches and salads, as well as pastries. It’s just one item that they’re out of. I can see being disappointed, but not upset. I guess I would liken it to your example of Subway and avocado.

Keep in mind you’re talking about an industry that has to control things as small as the amount of black olives on a subway sub, making sure to give two, one or ZERO napkins to each customer (Jimmy John’s I’m looking at you…).

The food cost, labor cost, and electricity involved in making a bread bowl may not seem like much, but look at it this way. Let’s say they do cost $3 all costs accounted for, which may be a bit high I think. How long would it take to make up for that loss in pure profit? Depending on what people are ordering and their associated margins, it could take 2 orders or 7 if they’re ordering cheap stuff. Every person involved in those 2-7 orders is doing extra work to make up for the loss. Same with the guy that made the extra loaves, he could have been baking the higher profit pastries that sold out early that day.There are infinite combinations that can happen in a day, but overall sales records, P&L, waste tracking etc. all pretty much dictate what a store has to do in order to be as profitable as the chain would like. Yes there are a few cases where they run out, but they’d ofter rather run out than throw away, even if it goes to the homeless. That whole thing is a topic for another thread though.

KFC can and has run out of chicken before, but it usually takes a certain level of celebrity endorsement to achieve that.

That said, they are ALWAYS out of the original recipe wings when I want one. Their spicy wings are like the damn fruit from the tree in Eden, but if I’m gonna get some awful disease, I’m gonna choose which flavor does it.

Years ago Subway only had two bread options – white or wheat.

My wife and I once had the following exchange with the woman behind the counter in a small Subway in North Carolina:

Subway drone: “White or wheat?”

Me: “White.”

Subway drone: “We’re all out.”

Me: “Wheat then.”

Subway drone: “There’s only one left and it’s not any good.”

She points at a single sad, mangled loaf of wheat bread.

My wife: “This isn’t much of a cheese shop.”

Me: “Well, it is very clean.”

dnooman, I worked at an Arby’s in the days when the potato cakes were baked.

And I remember pushing roasts.

And the name is derived from the founders-Forrest and Leroy Raffel, the Raffel Brothers

I was once in a famous Chicago pizzeria that reported it was out of house wine.