Panera Bread hiring at baking facility in West Chester

Panera Bread’s Butler County baking facility is preparing to expand its workforce.

Panera opened the facility in West Chester in October 2015, said plant manager Patrick McCarron.

The Fresh Dough Facility produces all the bread and bagels for 130 Panera cafés in Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia and Kentucky, and is a seven-days-a-week, 363-days-per-year operation, McCarron said.

“We shut down two days prior to Thanksgiving and Dec. 23 to ensure Panera customers always get the freshest products,” he said.

It employs 80 people and is looking to hire about eight new employees, McCarron said.

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The Journal-News asked McCarron about job growth with the company and the challenges it is looking to overcome. Here’s what he had to say:

Q: What sort of positions are available and what are you looking for when it comes to candidates to fill them?

A: “I’m hiring production people for a number of different positions and skill levels, also people to set up the orders for the 130 cafes. This is a bit more challenging because you are working inside a cooler that is kept at 38 to 40 degrees. I’m hiring people to double check orders and load cabinets onto semi trailers. I’m hiring janitors. I have a need for a production lead person. Ideal candidates come to work on time and prepared to work. The commitment is five days per week and the expectation is that you come to work five days. There is an attendance policy where those who miss don’t last long.

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Q: What’s the most prevalent roadblock the company encounters when it comes to hiring?

A: I can’t find people who will come to work every day and earn their paycheck … (so) I’m hiring good, full-time workers who are looking for a career. Panera offers good wages, benefits, vacations, we even buy you a pair of work shoes.”

Q: Why is this round of job growth is such a crucial component for company growth.

A: Panera has enjoyed continuous growth for the past 20 years and is now considered the standard for fast casual dining. There is a great deal of work that goes into that accomplishment and the work is done by great people dedicated to the continued success of Panera Bread.

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Q: Besides staffing, what other challenges is Panera facing and how is it working to address them?

A: Staffing is number one because it touches so many other aspects of serving our customers; for example, keeping up with demand on a daily basis, generating and filling orders accurately then transporting those orders to 130 customers located in four states. Add the complexity of filling those orders 363 days per year and you see why staffing is so integral to success.

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