Have you heard those Panera Bread commercials? You know, the ones where they invite you to come in for breakfast, stay through lunch, and finish up with dinner? In the meantime they say it’s OK to take over a table or two with your laptop, your studies, whatever you need to work on.
They actually mean it.
This week my son’s had football practice from 7:45am until 2pm every day. In Algonquin. Don’t know where Algonquin is? It’s about 45 miles west northwest from the heart of Chicago, where I live. Instead of driving round trip and spending 4 hours a day in the car and filling my tank 3 times, I’ve camped out at the Panera Bread on Randall Road (451 S Randall Rd, 847-458-5901).
Free wifi, free coffee and soft drink refills, and plenty of outlets for my laptop with the almost-completely-drained battery have kept me connected, caffeined up, and sane. Plus they’ve been downright hospitable.
I had been feeling guilty about taking up residence and drinking oodles of coffee. I’d decided that I wasn’t going to get my “coffee card” stamped since I’d been taking advantage of those free refills. Imagine my surprise yesterday when I asked for my small coffee and the manager said it was on them! Panera, you now have a customer for life.
(The food’s pretty good also. Try the Chicken Pomodoro Panini.)