Panera worker accidentally leaves drive-thru mic on while ranting

There’s plenty of weary stand-up comedy routines that get misunderstood at the drive-thru, but not many where employees are heard too clearly over the speaker system.

But that’s exactly what happened to TikToker Ela (@hers.apothecary) when she visited a Panera Bread fast food location, only to find that she accidentally overheard what appeared to be a private conversation one store employee was having with another employee .

She captured a snippet of her fly-on-the-wall moment in a 23-second TikTok that garnered over 17,000 likes and 240 shares.

@ela.the.bruja It was a Monday 🤷🏻‍♀️ #panerabread #fyp #fy ♬ Original sound – 🧿Hers.Apothecary🧿

“Because that’s the manager’s fault,” says the employee over the drive-through speaker. “Because when I was working at the other Panera, my manager made sure that I had to turn off the vending machine and put everything in the sink. I had to clean everything up like I had to start about an hour before getting off so I could get everything done. Yes, so they should tell them that you need to finally get those things done.

Ela then turns the camera around to show her face, covers her face and stifles her laughter as the employee continues her conversation over the speakerphone.

“Stopped for coffee, stayed for tea,” Ela joked in the video’s text overlay.

The Daily Dot emailed Ela and Panera for further comments.

This isn’t the first time someone has overheard a conversation from a fast food employee that they probably shouldn’t be hearing. In 2018, a McDonald’s customer taped a worker at the burger chain who scolded her boss.

Viewers of Elas Post had a litany of different reactions to the clip. Some people were genuinely shocked to learn that there were Panera locations with drive-through windows, while others sympathized with the worker and explained that they, too, had had bad experiences with closure teams at their respective store locations.

One TikToker wrote in the comments, “But the senior squad is always the worst.” Another user wrote, “Damn but it sounds like the crib is to blame.”

“Thanks for venting her, as an ex Panera member she had to rant,” added a third.

While a number of industries have been hit by staff shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, hospitality has been the slowest to recover in many markets. QSR Magazine published this month that labor shortages are still a major problem in the restaurant business, and Modern Restaurant Management wrote that hospitality companies should expect these shortages “to persist” into 2023.


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*Initial publication: December 28, 2022 1:41 pm CST

Jack Alban

Jack Alban is a freelance journalist for the Daily Dot, covering trending human interest/social media stories and real people’s reactions to them. He always tries to incorporate evidence-based studies, current events, and relevant facts to those stories to create your not-so-average viral post.

Jack Alban Panera worker accidentally leaves drive-thru mic on while ranting

Jaclyn Diaz

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