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Lucy P.
user 26563032
Laguna Hills, CA
Post #: 5
The national Panera Bread Bakery-Cafe chain welcomes groups wishing to hold meetings in their restaurants. There is no extra charge. Groups should be relatively small and reasonably quiet since only a few of the restaurants (and none in the Irvine area) have Community Meeting Rooms. The website offers a filter to locate restaurants with meeting rooms, which can accommodate larger groups and provide sound control and sometimes light control.

While the restaurants assume that guests will buy food, there are no stated minimum requirements. The menu (breads, sandwiches, soups, salads, pastries, etc.) is delicious and affordable. All Panera Breads we visited in the Irvine area have one long table suitable for at least 8 or 10 people. Smaller tables may also be rearranged for groups.

All Panera Breads offer free wi-fi. Some electrical outlets for laptops or other equipment are located throughout the dining areas. Outlets should be studied in advance to make sure they will meet the group's needs since cords cannot be placed across traffic areas. A long extension might solve a connection problem. Managers are friendly and helpful. Several we talked with did not rule out tapping into overhead lighting fixtures to get power, especially over the long table.

Panera Breads are open seven days a week, typically from 6 or 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. (sometimes later), with slightly shorter hours on Sundays. Individual restaurant hours vary slightly and are not listed on the website (at least, we couldn't find them), so check with the restaurant/s under consideration. Panera Breads are normally located in convenient shopping areas near free parking. However, ease of parking may vary.

All Panera Breads we visited in the Irvine area have lighted outdoor seating -- convenient for members who may want to stay and talk after the restaurant closes. Outdoor seating might also work for meetings, but with less sound and light control and few, if any, electrical outlets.

A new group planning to meet at a Panera Bread restaurant should have someone arrive early enough to claim the desired table/s. Since empty tables won't be held when other patrons require seating, perhaps the goal should be to "watch over" rather than "claim" the desired table/s. Groups with a history of regular meetings and good restaurant relations may expect to have their usual space in the dining area held for them.
A former member
Post #: 1
For group meetings in restaurants, the problem is not the group being too loud for the customers, it's the customers being too loud for the group. Been to meetings in these settings. Almost useless. Can only hear about 50% of what going on. Need a private room or a corner guaranteed to be quiet. Outside people will sit right next to the group and talk loudly. They don't care.
CoderBud
user 169755982
Laguna Hills, CA
Post #: 2
  • NGAJVB=additions

    • NGAPJH=So far our only Panera meetings have been at Panera of South Coast Plazza where OCAndroid User Meetings met ~5 times quite successfully as I recall, other than the long drive (for me in S.OC) and as long as we arrived early to snag the one big table. Why we picked this is mostly explained by {tough criteria NGBWOC next}
    • NGBWOC=From most problem criteria

    • NGAJYC=On AC

      • NGB0QT=All big tables seen so far have a live AC plug, detailed at NGAK6H; in cases (without having a portable big battery pack) this has made getting a/the big table a requirement as:
      • NGB0SC=Other tables may or may not have an AC outlet close of them to use.

        • NGB1IY=Most stores do seem to a few non-big tables by plugs, but some (as Panera of South Coast Plazza) don't.
        • NGB1JH=And though I don't recall us asking, it feels unlikely a manager would allow allow running the needed extension cord.


    • NGAK7F=reservations­

      • NGAKBP=per above "empty tables won't be held", reservations ARE NOT done, at least not officially, so have an attendee "arrive early enough" to hold the space/table(s), as that describes.
      • NGBX2J=See working instance NGAPJH (above)


    • NGAJVS=Many locations have 1 to 2 big tables seating ~10 people,

      • NGAK6H=each is pre-wired with a few AC outlets which power strips can be plugged into


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