Associate Angel Shanks

Angel Shanks did not hesitate more than one or two seconds. The question was easy for her: “What do you enjoy about working at Panera Bread?”

The 20 year-old smiled widely and said,

“I love that I can brighten other people’s days.”

Shanks has been working at the Shadyside Panera Bread in Pittsburgh since 2012 and is trained on every position.

“I hope to move up in the company,” she said. “I want to explore more with the company and move around and see what kind of doors the company can open for me.”

She said she has learned about far more than how to use a cash register and serve customers in her time at the Panera Bread restaurant.

In fact, she said the lessons from Panera, the first place she has ever worked, range from patience to composure and the importance of keeping a positive attitude.

The most meaningful lesson for her is to remember to stay composed. “I am a much different person now than I was when I started working here,” she said.

Her mother, Brenda Shanks, died in 2013 and she lives with her father, Ronald Shanks, and two of her four brothers.

“With four brothers, I needed to learn composure and to stay positive,” she said.

In addition to changes in her attitude about life, Angel says she has also learned to be more outgoing with strangers.

“I was always outgoing, but now I speak to everyone and I reach out more,” she said.

And she said she has also developed a second family at Panera Bread, her co-workers and the restaurant’s customers.

In fact, Angel has gotten to know some of the restaurant’s regulars.

“There’s Darlene. She comes in every morning Monday through Friday. She orders two eggs and cheese on country with orange juice,” Angel said.

She said that if Darlene doesn’t come in for a few days, she wonders where she has been and worries, at times.

“I really care about our customers,” Angel said.

Jan Kusserow, who is a regular customer, confirmed that Angel knows customers and has an amazing attitude.

“My husband and I come here all of the time,” Kusserow said. “We love the employees and this seems like a really nice place for them to work.”

Kusserow said she enjoys talking to the Panera employees and seeing them study or read books on their breaks. “It gives you hope for the future,” Angel said.

“I love that I can brighten other people’s days.” – Angel Shanks

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