Here’s an opportunity for Panera Bread to implement a slight change to their “equipment” in order to better serve the customers and the operators.
The typical Panera Bread coffee customization counter setup is such that a customer with an empty Panera Bread coffee cup (paid for at the cash register) will walk to the creamer/sweetener/coffee counter and fill the cup with their choice of coffee, milk/creamer, and sweetener. At the Panera Bread near my house the coffee dispensers are in the center, the sweeteners and paper cup sleeves are on one side of the counter while the creamers and flavor powders (cinnamon, chocolate, paprika, vanilla) are on the other.
Generally there are three types of liquid creamers in metal jugs set out for customers – I go for the half-and-half. The metal dispensers have a label on one side and the black handle on the opposite side (see above picture). In order to read the label (and thusly identify what kind of creamer you have) the handle must face away from you. If the three bottles are set in line and all handles are facing you, you can’t identify what the bottle’s contents are unless you:
- pick the bottle up by the handle
- turn the bottle around by either the handle or the base with your opposite hand
- read the label
- turn bottle back around by the handle or base with opposite hand
If it’s the creamer you want, great. If not, you put it back and repeat the process for the next bottle until you find the creamer you want.
And the same thing goes for the workers – they have to fill the bottles and put them in the storage fridge. Do they store the bottles with labels out or handles out? They have to repeat the above steps whenever they must replenish the supply at the counter.
That’s a long way of saying that excess motion could be reduced and visual management could be improved by having the label and the handle on the same side. No need to turn the bottle around to identify it.