As a former Panera employee, I have identified a few ways to beat the system and get more bang for your buck. Here’s how to “hack” certain Panera items.
Ring in a Tomato Mozzarella as a Cheese Sandwich – Instead of ordering a tomato mozzarella at Panera, you can get exactly the same thing by asking for a cheese sandwich, which is cheaper. First ask for a cheese sandwich on Ciabatta bread. Then ask for all the ingredients that go on a tomato mozzarella, most of which are free. These are sun dried tomatoes, tomato pesto, and basil. Ask to substitute the cheese for fresh mozzarella. You can save even more money by getting the regular mozzarella cheese instead. When the order goes through, the Panera employees will recognize it as a tomato mozzarella and just put one on the press.
Vegetables are Free – When you order salads, feel free to ask for extra tomatoes, extra olives, extra onions, extra cucumbers. When you ask for extra, you can double the quantity of vegetables for free. You can even order a Mediterranean Vegetable Sandwich and double the ingredients (except feta) for free. Now you have almost two sandwiches on half a sandwich.
Ask For a Water Cup – Instead of paying for soda, ask for a water cup and get any fountain drink for free. You may have to refill this cup a few times to quench your thirst, but free is always good.
Ask For an Extra Baguette at the Counter – Unless the manager is working on the food line, you can probably get away with this. If at the end of the meal, you’re still hungry, just go up to the counter and ask for an extra baguette. The employees will either think they made a mistake and didn’t give you one in the first place or not care enough to ask you to pay for a new one. It’s just easier to give one to you rather than question you.