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Pewaukee Panera Bread to relocate

May 6, 2013

Village of Pewaukee - Your sandwich line might get shorter around lunchtime because Panera Bread would like to relocate to a new building in Pewaukee.

The new cafe would be at the Meadow Creek shopping center, 1301 Capitol Drive. Representatives from the restaurant visited the Plan Commission for a consultation in March and explained that the cafe would be different from the other fast food restaurants already in that area - Taco Bell or McDonald's, for example.

The issue goes back to the Plan Commission on May 9.

"We feel we can better meet the needs of the community by moving to this new location in Pewaukee. The new building offers us the opportunity to add a drive thru and an outside dining area," said Panera representative Mandy Burns.

"It is important to note that Panera Bread differs greatly from a traditional quick service restaurant (QSR) or fast-food restaurant. Our price points are highter than a typical QSR with average individual checks ranging from $10 to $12. Orders are prepared on demand, and not premade nor pre-packaged," wrote Caryl Scobbie, senior development project manager with Panera.

Another big difference, according to Scobbie, is the presence of a wait staff at the new location. Scobbie explained that customers can place their orders and make payments at the service counter. They would then be given a GPS device and could choose any available table. When the order is prepared, it will be served on real china with flatware and brought to the customer by an associate. Furthermore, one or more associates are continuously walking through the dining room area to clean tables or refill customer beverages.

The commissioners agreed that this met the definition for a wait staff and is therefore in line with the 1997 planned unit development (PUD). An amendment to the PUD, then, is not needed.

This Panera Bread location is also proposed with a drive-through. The restaurant expects 30 percent of its business to happen at the drive-up window, with the remainder of the business by carryout and dining in.

"While the majority of our customers still choose to park and come inside the cafe, it is important to provide a drive-thru as a convenience option," Scobbie wrote. "We are consistently looking for more ways to proved ease of use service to our customers. The drive-thru also allows for more available shared parking for our customers wanting to dine inside our cafe, as well as more available parking for adjacent tenant businesses."

Burns agreed, saying, "The new bakery-cafe will be similar in size, but the layout and addition of the drive thru will make for an improved customer experience."

The project plans, developed by JSD Professional Services Inc. in Waukesha, show an indoor seating area of 2,200 square feet with 40 tables with 113 seats. Outdoor seating is also proposed on the patio with an additional 600 square feet and nine tables with 27 seats.

The restaurant has proposed 36 total employees, six of them full time. At most, there would be 12 employees working during the largest shift (lunchtime).

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