Panera Bread Job - 35035276 | CareerArc
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Company: Panera Bread
Location: St. Louis, MO
Career Level: Director
Industries: Food, Beverage


Director, Creative Design

Panera is recognized as a leader in the Food Service Industry, known for its passionate associates and loyal guests. Today, with over 2000 cafes in the US, Company and Franchise, we are bringing this same level of innovative thinking to the development of the next generation café design. As a result, our need to elevate design to the highest level has never been greater. To support these efforts, we are on the hunt for experienced and highly creative Director who has a passion and talent for great design to join our in-house design studio.

We are looking for an experienced and talented Director of Creative Design to join Panera's café design studio, with experience working in high caliber creative teams. The Director will partner with Director of Store Design and other designers and will report directly to the VP of Design.  As an integral part of the design studio and broader development team, they will assist the design staff to deliver thoughtful and highly creative design solutions, elevating the brand while accommodating business considerations, functional goals and our typical aggressive timelines.

Elevate Design

  • Responsible for the design and overall look/feel of new and remodeled cafes.
  • Create thoughtful and highly creative regional café designs that align with current design strategies and Panera's high-quality brand standards.
  • Help to build a strong creative studio culture that encourages open discourse, collaboration, and critical thinking.
  • Have a passion for all things design that includes an understanding of history and current trends in design, furniture, and fashion, etc.
  • Leverage on-the-board experience to provide focused creative direction and feedback that consistently drives and elevates design. Effectively address talent gaps and troubleshoot when needed.
  • Promote a successful attitude, confidence in leadership, and collaboration with a focus on elevating design while achieving business results.
  • Provide clear, effective, and timely confidence in leadership, and collaboration of design direction to designers and consultants and, as needed, identify issues/conflicts and propose design solutions to resolve outstanding concerns.

Elevate Talent

  • Elevating the level of existing design talent in the organization. Establish and sustain expectations for designer caliber (design and leadership capabilities) for existing and new associates at all levels in the organization.
  • Regularly evaluate designer performance, identify high performing associates for development and promotion, and provide clear feedback, as necessary, to team members that do not meet expectations.
  • Continuously set a high bar for design talent, understand and clearly articulate expectations to project team and provide effective and timely direction and feedback on performance and project work.
  • Understand, identify, and clearly communicate key responsibilities, best practices, and expectations to ensure the success of immediate team of direct reports.
  • Challenge and inspire teams and provide timely coaching, feedback, leadership support and developmental opportunities to achieve design and business results. Conduct and ensure the completion of performance reviews.

The Work

  • Directly responsible for the furniture/material/finish palettes and Art for new and remodeled cafes, and other brands/concepts as may be identified over time.
  • Bring projects into regular open-forum style design reviews as well as offline review as needed, and respond to design direction, coaching and guidance so that the projects meet Panera's high-quality brand standards.
  • Responsible for the quality, execution, and timely deliverable of design development drawings by Panera's outside Architectural firms. Ensure all scope of work, design intent and requirements are met on drawings.
  • Work with Franchise partners to ensure that Panera design intent is executed to the highest standards and in coordination with their outside Architect's design development, and construction documents.
  • Support Panera's cross-functional team goals (Company and Franchise operations, Ops Services, Real Estate, Construction, etc.) to:
    • Deliver effective store layouts that meet functional and business needs and Brand Image
    • Provide effective collaboration and communication with broader store development team so that projects meet internal project timelines and construction budgets, hit annual new store and remodel project counts and achieve sales weeks goals.
    • Monitor the work quality of the external architect consultants to ensure they deliver high quality construction documents that comply with architectural and quality standards, building codes and health and safety regulations, on time and on budget.


  • 10+ years of broad experience, including design, detailing and preparation of construction/design documents in restaurant/hospitality and retail.
  • 10+ years of design experience in a restaurant or retail brand.
  • 7+ year's management of outside architectural, MEP and/or other design consultants.
  • Professional degree in Interior Design, Architecture, and/or a related field of study.
  • 3D visualization (hand sketching/CAD programs, etc.)
  • Working knowledge of design and color principles, architectural detailing, and specifications.
  • Current knowledge of relevant professional building codes, health codes and compliance issues.
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills, highly organized and detail oriented.
  • Self-starter with ability to work both independently and in a team environment.
  • Strong work ethic and professional attitude with ability to thrive in a fluid, fast-moving, high pressure and constantly changing business environment.
  • Ability to manage multiple project timelines and schedules simultaneously and work with little supervision to produce high quality work on strict timelines.
  • Excellent computer skills and proficiency required. Prefer experience with ACAD/Revit and Google Sketch-up.

Panera Perks:

  • We offer a cool and colorful place to work where you are surrounded by other people who want to be here.
  • You get to play hard, have fun at work and participate in our culture of helping those around you
  • Alongside the normal salary and benefits, you have access to all the free coffee and baked goods you can consume.
  • The chance to join a passionate, collaborative, fast growing team.
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