Guest Blog By John Thomson
In the age of digital everything, something very refreshing is taking place near the Marketnews office; good ol' fashion face to face customer service - no accumulation of "likes", no electronic couponing, no email blasts. Instead US based Panera Bread Company, who next week are having their grand opening near Toronto's Sherway Gardens Shopping Mall, have sent out young foot soldiers with big smiles on their face, to introduce the neighborhood to their brand.
Yesterday, two young ladies came to our office with company information, catering menus and coffee sleeves to be used all month for free coffee. Not bad. Then today, Panera completely outdid themselves by dropping off a bag of sandwiches, cookies and snacks so we can taste the quality of their offering first hand. How fantastic is that?
How far have we gone in our reliance in our electronic social tools to have forgotten that a smile, some human interaction and some door to door knocking are still valid marketing initiatives and can be extremely powerful in building brand loyalty. It's been so long since I have been on the receiving end of this that I am writing about it!
Panera Bread Company is based in St. Louis, MO and started operations as a bakery in 1981. Today the company operates close to 1,600 bakery-cafes and Ontario is their first venture outside the United States. Their mandate is to deliver fresh healthy breads baked daily. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Panera Bread scored the highest level of customer loyalty in the quick casual restaurants category, and in 2011, Zagat, the trusted restaurant review service, gave Panera a Top Rating and the rank of Best Salad in the casual dining category.
Marketnews extends a hearty welcome to the neighborhood to Panera and we wish you all the success with your grand opening. You have won our team as customers. Thank you for the sandwich, it was fantastic.
Panera Sherway is located at 197 North Queen Street next to Home Depot and Best Buy. Tell us you're heading over and we will meet you for lunch!
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