How Panera got it so right – 650k Likes by simply showing a little compassion

This is a brilliant blog post by Bill Taylor about the importance of humanity in business. It’s also a great story about someone who went the extra mile below…

Brandon Cook, from New Hampshire, was visiting his grandmother in hospital. She unfortunately was dying of cancer and complained to her grandson that she desperately wanted a bowl of soup (but the hospital’s soup was inedible). Her favourite soup was clam chowder from Panera Bread but it’s only sold on a Friday.

Brandon called the nearby Panera and talked to store manager, Suzanne Fortier. Sue made clam chowder especially for Brandon’s grandmother (even though it wasn’t a Friday) and she included a box of cookies as a special gift.

Brandon told the story on his Facebook page and then Brandon’s mother, Gail Cook, retold the story on Panera’s fan page. Gail’s post generated over 650 000 “likes” and more than 22,000 comments on Panera’s Facebook page. Panera got something that no amount of traditional advertising can buy and that they certainly wouldn’t have planned to get — a genuine sense of affiliation and appreciation from customers and potential customers.

And for Brandon’s family and grandmother such a compassionate action will stay with them forever. When my grand dad died he had some amazing last meals, which no doubt sends them off in a happy place.

Small acts of kindness can make a big difference.

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