Panera drive thru with caption 'Stopped for the coffee stayed for the tea' (l) Panera Bread Drive Thru sign on building (c) woman in car with hand on mouth caption 'Stopped for the coffee stayed for the tea' (r)

Helen89/Shutterstock @ela.the.bruja/TikTok (Licensed)

‘Stopped for the coffee, stayed for the Tea’: Panera worker accidentally leaves drive-thru mic on during workplace rant

'... Cause that's the manager's fault.'


Jack Alban


Posted on Dec 28, 2022

There are tons of tired stand-up comedy routines involving miscommunication at the drive-thru, but not many that involve hearing employees too clearly over the speaker system.

But that’s exactly what happened with TikToker Ela (@hers.apothecary) when she visited a Panera Bread fast food location, only to discover that she was inadvertently listening in on what seems to be a private conversation a worker at the store was having with another employee.

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

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

“Cause that’s the manager’s fault,” the employee says through the drive-thru speaker. “Because when I was working at the other Panera my manager would make sure, you know, I would have to shut down the soda machine, put all the things in the sink. I would have to clean everything, like I would have to start like an hour before I got off so I could have everything done. Yeah, so they should be telling them that, for close, you have to have these things done.”

Ela then turns the camera around to show her face, covering her face and holding back her laughter as the employee continues their conversation over the loudspeaker.

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

The Daily Dot has reached out to Ela and Panera via email for further comment.

This isn’t the first time someone caught a conversation from a fast-food employee they probably weren’t supposed to hear. In 2018, a McDonald’s customer recorded a worker for the burger chain ranting against her boss.

Viewers of Ela’s post had a litany of different reactions to the clip. Some folks were genuinely shocked to learn that there were Panera locations that had drive-thru windows, while others sympathized with the worker, stating that they too had bad experiences with closing crews at their own respective places of business.

One TikToker wrote in the comments, “But closing crew is always the worst.” Another user penned, “Dang idk but it Sounds like it’s the mangers fault”

“Thank you for letting her vent, as an ex Panera member, she NEEDED to rant,” a third added.

While a number of industries were hit with staffing shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic across the United States, the food service industry has been the slowest to recover in many markets. QSR Magazine published this month that the labor shortage is still very much a problem in the restaurant business, and Modern Restaurant Management wrote that food service businesses should expect that this shortage is “here to stay” going into 2023.

We crawl the web so you don’t have to.
Sign up for the Daily Dot newsletter to get the best and worst of the internet in your inbox every day.
Sign up now for free
Share this article
*First Published: Dec 28, 2022, 1:41 pm CST