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Meet Meghan Atilano of Manna Development DBA Panera Bread

Today we’d like to introduce you to Meghan Atilano.

Meghan, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started with Panera/Manna in 2003, when we built our first location in Escondido. I had just graduated from college in New Mexico and knew I wanted to live in San Diego. Talk about being in the right place at the right time!

In the beginning, we were planning on opening 15 cafes, never did I think 15 years later we would have 138. For the first year, I worked in cafes but found I had a true knack for opening the new ones. From there my role evolved to marketing and catering, then training and now training and HR. I’ve opened over 60 locations and serve 7000 employees. It’s been an amazing adventure.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Our rapid growth has been a blessing and a curse. 60% of our General Managers have started off as associates for us, it’s the best thing in the world to see them grow. We are a family owned company that started off in San Diego and have expanded to Orange County, LA, Oregon, Southern Washington, Western Michigan and Colorado.

Making sure that everyone feels like they are a part of the family, even if they are 3000 miles away, has been an exciting challenge. We utilize technology as much as we can to keep everyone on the same page.

Manna Development DBA Panera Bread – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
At Panera, we make the best food, with the best ingredients, served by the best associates. We are proud to serve food with no artificial ingredients or preservatives. I am most proud of our team, we have a great bunch of Associates, Caterers, Bakers and Managers, that make this a great place to work and dine!

Our Share the Dough program is also something of which I’m extremely proud. Share the Dough, is our employee/guest funded non-profit organization. It helps employees in catastrophic events, provides scholarships, sponsors families for Christmas, donates leftover product and the list goes on….. We’re always looking for ways to give back to our staff and our community

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Proudest moment happens every time someone on my team grows. I love seeing someone who thought they signed up to make sandwiches for the summer blossom into a manager. Knowing that I’ve helped a team member develop both personally and professionally is incredibly satisfying.

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