March 13, 2017

What I was doing at the Panera Family Reunion

Share:

IMG_4800

I’m on an airplane flying back to Boston from Nashville Tennessee.

Ron Shaich, the CEO of Panera, has become important to Clover. Immediately after I quit my job I dug deep into my alumni networks. High School, MIT, HBS, McKinsey. I found every person who worked in Foodservice and reached out to them to request a meeting. I reached out to over 100 people. Kept track of it in a spreadsheet.

Ron was very generous. I was nobody to him. But if I remember he took more than an hour listening to me and my questions. I knew nothing about restaurants back then. To this day I always say yes when young entrepreneurs want to meet. It’s because of Ron’s example.

Nashville.

I was there surrounded by 4,000 Panera employees. 4,000 Panera employees, the Tatte leadership team, (Panera bought them recently), and me (Panera has not bought Clover). It was so huge. There were speeches, events, a vendor show that was sort of like an internal trade show. I didn’t know what to expect when Ron invited me.

And honestly I find myself a bit overwhelmed. I keep saying I want to build something huge. And when I say that I’m mostly thinking about the kind of impact I want to have in the world. Big big impact. Not something small.

But what we are at Clover, it’s so so small compared to what I just observed. So I guess it’s sort of overwhelming and maybe humbling.

There was a lot of business stuff, a concert, meals. Panera is at the top of their game. Their stock is on fire. There were moments that were incredibly inspiring. A regional leader received an award and brought his whole team up to the stage because he wanted to talk about how great they were. He took the time to introduce each of them. It was really touching and inspiring.

Ron gave a big speech that was the climax of the event. 4,000 people. And that’s just the leadership in their company. Amazing. Humbling.

Recent Posts

January 26, 2023
The Pizza Friday Box gave us an idea: calzones! Ayr has been making these at his house and texting us photos. They’re big and saucy and so good. Basically a stuffed pizza/turnover situation with origins in 17th century Naples.
January 18, 2023
As you might know, we love feedback. Survey Day is a tradition that harkens back to the first days of the food truck, over 10 years ago. If you got a card in line today at Clover, or if you ordered on the app today, click here to take the survey. Huge thanks for helping us improve.
January 13, 2023
Thanks all who joined for the first public food dev meeting after Covid. Phil did a great job pulling it all together. If you’re a customer, farmer, vendor (or Clover staff member) reading this, you are invited to Food Dev! These happen Thursday afternoons at the HUB and they’re where all new food ideas are born. Just make sure to sign up – spots are limited.
January 5, 2023
House-made carrot lox, hearty vegetable stews with bread and pickles, Tunisian breakfast bowls, a pizza party kit, and a dream of snow, all in one box. Our Snowed In Box is back. This was Greg’s idea back in 2020. He thought it would be cool to make a box that was equally whether eaten after snowboarding or cozied up on the couch watching a movie.
December 21, 2022
We’ve been getting a lot of requests for the ability to gift a friend Clover Meal Boxes. After a lot of late night tech sessions, we have a way to do this! Yay! I’ve been looking and seeing a few of you have started to discover this feature and are starting to gift away. So cool to see.
December 16, 2022
If you’re a weekly meal box subscriber, you may have noticed way fewer plastic containers in your deliveries recently.When we started the program, we were in the pandemic, new to this whole home delivery thing, and a big concern was making sure that nothing spilled inside the boxes. So we relied on post-consumer recycled containers (aka plastic deli containers) for a lot of the items.
December 13, 2022
We’ve been getting back into the merch game. First up: squash shirts. I thought it would be fun to celebrate the diversity of the squash world. Although butternut is probably the squash you see most in the grocery store, there are actually over 100 types of squash, all with their own patterns, colors, and textures.
December 6, 2022
The Bridgewater is back!! This is probably the most requested sandwich on our menu. Michelle who runs our social media says she reliably gets one message per week asking when it will return. In 2015, Paul and Bryan came up with this sandwich as an homage to the jalapeño poppers at The Charlie Horse, a now-closed tavern in their hometown of Bridgewater, MA.
December 6, 2022
I love the holidays. I love the lights, I love the traditions, I love ornaments and pine needles all over the floor.  I love the movies (“Muppet Christmas Carol”) and the books (“A Child’s Christmas in Wales.”) I love the good songs, I love the schlocky songs (if you’ve never heard “Suzy Snowflake” or “Dominic the Donkey”, stop reading right now and click through.)
December 1, 2022
It was inevitable. Our meal box program had to find its way into restaurants at some point. A bunch of you have been asking if we can sell “on demand” meal boxes in our restaurants – for those times when you have last-minute dinner guests or forgot to subscribe by the deadline. So we’ve been easing into the process of combining one part of Clover with another.
November 28, 2022
Brussels Sprouts are extra sweet this time of year, and King Brussels, in his infinite wisdom, has cooked up a Brussels Week in our meal boxes. Every single subscription box will contain a recipe inspired by brussels! This is the first time we’ve explored a seasonal theme across our entire lineup and we’re excited to dive in.
November 19, 2022
This was Jane’s last week at Clover. We’re wishing her the best in her next steps (but also not so secretly hoping she comes back!)