Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Panera Bread Company

I have become a part of "men's group" through my church to meet weekly and work on our manliness. However, this group meets at Panera Bread and that makes me nervous to refer to it as a "MEN'S" group. The food is mostly girl stuff (soup, salad, sandwiches), but in our military community about 75% of the customers are in camouflage at any given time. I figure this statistic helps the manliness, but I am just not sure that Panera is a manly place. Can I get a ruling and maybe a suggestion on somewhere better to get lunch?

Thanks

Brandon

Brandon,

Let me begin this manswer by sharing a personal story. Two weekends ago, Mrs Awesome and I decided to go to breakfast on Saturday morning. I let her pick, and she chose Panera. We both had toasted bacon, egg, and cheese bagels, and our total was about $12. Neither of us left full, but the ambiance of the place was quiet and subdued. We were surrounded by numerous people reading by themselves, studying, or surfing the internet on their Macbooks. There was a group of older women there, discussing a book they had all been reading. It was peaceful and calm, yet a little boring. Almost pretentious. It's almost like the establishment is for people who want to be in public without really being in public. So, I suppose Panera is a decent option for your meetings. The food is decent and semi-reasonably priced, and the place is quiet and relaxed. It is also boring, and I'm not a fan of soup as a meal by itself. Panera is an ok option, but not your best option.

Let’s look at ways we could improve Panera to make it a more respectable venue for your group. Starting with the decor, Panera is pretty simple, mainly just a dingy yellow color, so nothing outlandishly girly. However, when there is a meeting of the man minds involved, the atmosphere needs to be a bit more rugged. I would suggest maybe scattering a few boomerangs throughout the establishment, maybe hang a few pictures of some dingoes. Dingoes make just about any situation better. Well, maybe not when your wife is in labor, but most other situations. Now that we have ambiance set, lets look at more important matters, the food. You already touched on their pansified menu, but Panera doesn’t even offer steak. No respectable rendezvous point for men leaves steak off the menu, so that is the first thing to change. Add steak, at a reasonable price, preferably some sort of special for about $9.99. Throw in a Bloomin’ Onion and some hilarious Crocodile Dundee references and you have all you need cuisine-wise. In short, Panera would be much more manly if it were Outback Steakhouse.

I just solved your problem for you. You need to officially move your meeting to Outback Steakhouse, where you can have a nice meal and you won’t have to rely on other patrons wearing camouflage to make you feel better about yourself while eating there. And have you ever checked the credentials of those guys wearing camo? They may be imposters who also feel ashamed about their restaurant choices and are just dressing up as military personnel to make themselves feel better. I know when Mrs Awesome sends me to the florist, I wear full combat gear. It helps me feel manlier when buying flowers. Plus, while you don't see a lot of shoot-out action sequences that get started at the florist, there's always a first time. So you want to be ready.

I hope this helps, Brandon. And if the other guys won’t let you changes location, then your next best option would be to bring a boom box and rock out to some Pantera every time you walk in the door, like your own personal entrance music. It would help man up the place a bit, plus it's relevant since the band’s name is spelled so similarly to Panera. Try to play songs that don't have as many dirty words though...Panera is a family establishment, after all, so we don't need any vulgar displays of power. But if you keep rocking the Panera/Pantera thing, the employees will recognize you by about the third week. Then you get to be that guy who can walk up to the counter and just say "the usual." You'll be like Norm from Cheers. You may be eating at some sissified soup place, but at least you will be known. And that's always nice.

Dr Awesome

P.S. If any executives from Outback are reading this, I do accept gift cards.

3 comments:

Deborah March 31, 2010 at 7:07 PM  

If you don't mind, I'd like to add a story. A few years ago, a Panera opened up about a mile and a half from where I used to work. One day a co-worker and I decided to go there and check it out (he and I had never been to a Panera before). Like I said, I went there with my male co-worker (as you can tell by my name, I'm female) and there was a bit of line, and while we waited in line, one of the ladies who worked there came up to us and said "would you ladies like a menu to look at while you wait?"

I felt very bad for my co-worker because he wasn't (and never will be) a lady and didn't look like one either. We decided that Panera was gay and we shouldn't go there anymore, especially if they're going to address the men as ladies.

dolphx March 31, 2010 at 9:34 PM  

While I hold Outback on high as my favorite restaurant, and eating at Outback as one of my three favorite activities (target practice and family time top the list) - I must say that I would find attempting to daily stomach a pound of Prime Rib, a gallon of Fosters, and those cheese fries could become ... unhealthy?

Care to round out the list of manly restaurant alternatives?

Dr Awesome April 1, 2010 at 4:08 PM  

dolphx, most folks don't meet with their men's group every day. If it's one meal a week, odds are you can afford to be a little unhealthy. If you are really concerned, you can always get a smaller steak. This morning, for instance, I went to breakfast with some guys, and just had a bran muffin, while they all got hearty man breakfast. So you don't have to go all out every meal. But generally, when it's guy time, you can check your healthy eating at the door for a couple of hours and pick it right back up there later.

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