Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bravo Panera Bread !!!

You won't see it on the menu, but one of the tastiest treats served up at your local Panera (or St. Louis Bread Co. as it is still known in the St. Louis area) is the classical music that floats throughout the store, mingling deliciously with the smell of bread, coffee and all of the other tasty treats. I meet my mom every Friday morning for coffee at our local Panera, and along with our coffee, food and conversation, we enjoy the music playing in the background. On my visits to other Panera cafes around the country, I also hear classical music playing. It seems clear that this is not happening by chance....it is a thoughtful decision on Panera's part.
So I reached out to Panera and connected with their corporate Director of Public Relations, Jonathan Yohannan. He confirmed that the decision to use classical music is made at the corporate level; they have a concept creative team that works with a vendor to establish the appropriate music curation for their cafes. Each cafe is required to play either classical or smooth jazz. This music is provided by a company called DMX, and is sent to the stores digitally.
I also spoke with cafe managers in Lee's Summit, Kansas City and Tulsa about this. I was curious if they received much feedback from any of their customers...positive or negative...about the use of classical music. The reaction from customers is very positive. Store managers have been told the classical music creates a great atmosphere for conversations, studying or just relaxing. It is not obtrusive, yet it has substance. One manager told me he gets much of the positive feedback from younger, "hipster" types, which takes me back to a conversation I had with Patrcik Neas who unabashedly says classical music is hip.
So next time you visit a Panera cafe, enjoy some Mozart, Telemann, or Bernstien...all of which I have heard playing there....with your coffee and bagel....or bear claw.... or bread bowl....or whatever you are having.

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