One thing that'll get you a "big cringe" from employees is rudeness at the register. A Panera worker said that some people "blatantly ignore us or start ordering" after employees have asked how they're doing.
"When customers are rude, it immediately makes the staff not care about their order," a different Panera employee said.
Another worker added that they cringe at discourteousness from people who don't say thank you to employees who've held the restaurant door open for them, as well as customers who don't move out of the way of employees "carrying dishes or a delivery."
"My biggest pet peeve with customers is when they act like they know how the menu works better than I do," a different employee said.
Another Panera worker told Business Insider that they cringed whenever diners began trying to talk about politics with employees.
Diners with unrealistic expectations can also make employees grimace.
"Customers at my store expect 100% accuracy 24/7, but that will never be the case," an employee told Business Insider. "We have regulars that come in and order the same items but it will never come out the same."
"Sometimes things go wrong," the employee said. "When they do, we will fix them. But please ask nicely."
"We understand the order is messed up, but it doesn’t mean that the person you’re talking to messed it up," the employee added. "So treat us like humans and have enough respect to not yell at us that your bagel is not toasted enough."
A different employee said that they get annoyed when guests leave without clearing their tables and dropping off their bowls, plates, cups, and cutlery at the designated stations.
One Panera Bread employee said that it's awkward when diners ask workers "to take things out of our soup items." They explained that this "can never be done, since they aren't made fresh."
A different employee said they judged customers who insisted on "ordering a cappuccino with lite foam," explaining that "at that point you have a latte."
Panera's you-pick-two menu options can also prompt some judgement on the part of employees. "If you buy two of the same item in a you pick two, we judge you harshly," one employee said. "For example, two sandwiches together or two salads together."
Another Panera employee confessed that they judged people who ordered a you-pick-two combo of mac and cheese and Caesar salad. "That is the most basic order; branch out and try something new," the employee said.
A different employee added that they were surprised when diners ordered grilled-cheese or peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. "For our grilled cheese sandwich, the whole sandwich as a meal is $10," the worker said. "For $10 I could go down to Walmart, get a loaf of bread, butter and some cheese and have some change left."
"I understand paying $10 for something that you can't easily make at home, but I really don't understand ordering PB&J or grilled cheese," the employee said.