Panera Bread Networking Story Update

Networking at Panera Bread

Waaay back in October 2009, I had an interesting networking experience at my local Panera Bread bakery/café, which Ilise Benum of Marketing Mentor wrote about in the Creative Freelancer blog.

The following spring, I received a phone call from Panera Bread corporate headquarters saying that they had come across the post. Panera was creating a new website – My Panera – which was going to include a collection of stories about the people who visit and work for Panera. Could they use my story? Of course I said yes, and an interview with a writer and a photo session was set up at the Panera café. (I’ve art directed plenty of photo shoots in my time, but I’ve never been on the other side of the camera – it felt weird!)

No one knew exactly when the story would appear on the site, so I checked frequently for a few months, then sporadically for another few months, but it was never there. As time passed, I would think about it occasionally and check, but…still no story. I finally figured they had lots of more interesting stories to share and decided not to use mine after all. C’est la vie.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago when I was arranging to meet a colleague at a new Panera location. I went to Panera’s web site to get directions to the store and, to my surprise, there was my networking story: More New Business Than You Thought Possible.  (They didn’t use any of the photos taken, opting for a stock photo instead. Did I break the camera?!)

Now, I am far from the only person who conducts business at their local Panera Bread or other coffee shop. But, because I decided to share about my streak of good networking karma, it was the story that got noticed! Do you have any interesting networking experiences that you can share?

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