When Panera {almost} Ruined My Life

Once upon a time, Panera Bread took my favorite item off the menu and when I tried to find an acceptable meal replacement...it wasn't pretty.  Let's just say I had no choice but to write a letter.    The following is my actual letter to Panera Bread Customer Support. 

And to prove that they just might be the coolest Customer Support group ever, I've also copied their response. 
(My letter)
 To Whom It May Concern:

I love Panera and when I go out for lunch, I usually order the Soba Noodle Broth Bowl with chicken. It is, by far, THE best item that Panera has ever had on it's menu...even better than the tomato soup which is really saying something. Last week, I opened up my handy-dandy Panera app to order the Broth Bowl only to find that it had been replaced with some other, not-as-delicious broth bowl options. I'm not saying I cried, but I did get a little salty.
Via The Cookin' Mama
However, the purpose of my email is not to complain about the Soba Noodle Broth Bowl. I am sure that some high-level marketing genius convinced management to remove the previously mentioned "broth bowl of the Gods" by using words like market elasticity and supply/demand. Those marketing people are smart and they probably know that WHEN you put it back on the menu, Panera stocks will quadruple and sales will go through the roof. I can't blame them for that.

The purpose of my email is to let you know that I had to settle today for lunch. I ordered the Chicken Soba Noodle Salad. I figured the flavor profile was similar to my Broth Bowl and I had to give it a shot. It was okay. I enjoyed the cilantro and wished there was more...I also wish it was warm...and that it had broth...but alas, I ate what should be considered the red-headed-step-child of the Soba Noodle Broth Bowl.

I ate it until I found a hair in my food. It wasn't my hair and I know that things like this happen because human beings are...well...human...and humans have hair.

I couldn't eat the rest of my salad. I probably wouldn't have eaten it all anyway. I just thought you might want to know that in an effort to find an acceptable replacement for the food item that henceforth shall only appear in my dreams, I was let down in more ways than one.

Don't worry. I'm not giving up on Panera but I will say that if you take the cheese pastry off the menu, all bets are off.

With a hungry, broken heart,
Erin Brady

(The Panera Bread Response)
Hi Erin,
I’m so sorry to hear your visit to our bakery-cafe (#601652) was disappointing. We want your visit to Panera Bread to be warm and relaxing, with friendly service and deliciously handcrafted food you can enjoy and feel good about.
Please be assured that this kind of complaint is extremely unusual. We work very hard to make sure that only products of high quality are provided at our bakery-cafes. If a product has not met your expectations and our standards, we want to know, and we appreciate you bringing this matter to our attention.
I am forwarding your feedback to the bakery-cafe management team so that they can make any necessary improvements. Though mistakes sometimes occur, we all want to make sure your next Panera Bread experience is a great one.
Erin, the good news is that our Soba Noodle Broth Bowl will probably be coming back around again before you know it and in the meantime I hope you will give some other delicious options a try! My favorite is Ricotta Sacchettini Pasta with Chicken and I would love to know what you think.
I'd love to invite you to visit us again. May I send you a Panera Bread eGift Card? Though I know that isn't the reason for your email, I would like the opportunity to make up for your disappointment. I'll look forward to hearing from you.
Panera Bread Customer Care
Abbey gets major cool-points for understanding that this is a game-changer when it comes to my lunch plans.  And also....I HAVE HOPE...that one day I can once again order the Soba Noodle Broth Bowl with chicken.  I NEED to share it with my children and grandchildren like I need to share my grandmother's recipe for stuffed cabbage and my mom's recipe for chocolate chip bars. 

Thank you, Abbey....for making my day and for ensuring that my heritage has an opportunity to appreciate the deliciousness that IS the Soba Noodle Broth Bowl with chicken.


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