Panera Bread attracts many to Mount Pleasant store on opening day
Panera Bread is officially open in Mount Pleasant.
The bakery-café, located at the former Fazoli’s site at 2111 S. Mission St., had more than 1000 customers on its opening day inside the restaurant, on the patio and at the drive-thru.
Manna Development Group Marketing Director Brian Campbell said it was a great opening.
“We had a very busy lunch. We feel it will be a quick and convenient stop for customers to come in over time,” Campbell said. “It was a great first-day crowd.”
Panera Bread offers several foods like hand-tossed salads, sandwiches, drinks and a Panera Kids menu. The bakery also offers freshly baked breads, baked egg soufflés and many other sweets. A popular pick for customers, like 21-year-old Oakland County junior Jalese Johnson is the “You Pick Two,” which offers your choice of sandwich and soup, among other choices.
“This may be my new favorite place to eat. It’s a healthier alternative in Mount Pleasant, and it’s not that expensive,” Johnson said. “It’s really cool.”
The restaurant is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. The restaurant also offers free WiFi, and has about 45 employees including managers, said Director of Operations Josh Thompson. Thompson said the restaurant is looking forward to the amount of business they’re expected to have once Central Michigan University’s fall semester begins and the football season picks up.
“It’s been a good opening. We’re excited for what’s to come,” Thompson said.
Panera Bread is one of many new businesses in the Mount Pleasant area that have opened or are on their way to being open. Among other businesses include Dick’s Sporting Goods, Belle Tire, PetSmart and O’Reilly Automotive.
Randy Meyer, who previously worked on installing wiring in the building, said he had never seen Fazoli’s as full as Panera was on its opening day.
Among one of Panera Bread’s first customers was 19-year-old Romeo sophomore Ben Devereaux, who ate a ham and swiss sandwich with his friends on the patio. Devereaux and his friends said they liked how the servers bring their food to their table instead of being forced to pick it up at the counter, as well as how the greeter hands you a menu as you walk in the door.
“I’ve been watching it go up every single day when I drove by on my way to work,” Devereaux said. “It was quite the grand opening.”
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