While fast-casual restaurant chains are now a dime a dozen, for many of us, Panera was the first introduction to food that could be fast, but not look like fast food. And whether it's been years since you tasted a cinnamon chip bagel, or you just had a bread bowl last week, there is something about the entire experience that will always stay with us.
To learn more, we spoke to two former Panera employees, Ellen and Adrienne,* for the inside scoop. While they both hung up their green aprons several years back (Ellen and Adrienne worked at Panera at different times, but prior to 2013), they were more than happy to answer our questions. They shared the ups and downs of life behind the counter, and whether or not they still frequent the chain. (Yes, we asked about the bread bowls.)
*Names have been changed. The following interviews were told to Refinery29 and edited for length and clarity.