Potbelly Sandwich Works

  www.potbelly.com
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Potbelly Sandwich Works Reviews in Chicago, IL

Updated Jun 30, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.3 33 reviews

71% Approve of the CEO

Potbelly Sandwich Works President and CEO Aylwin B. Lewis

Aylwin B. Lewis

(14 ratings)

58% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Company is full of great people with great attitudes(in 9 reviews)

  • Fun work environment, good overall environment with occasional live music(in 9 reviews)


Cons
  • Ironically upper management is theoretically blind to the lack of integrity(in 10 reviews)

  • Extremely low pay with no incentive to work hard because you only see a percentage based pay increase ONCE a year(in 9 reviews)

33 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
Relevance Date Rating
in
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    An experience I treasure

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee) Chicago, IL

    ProsI would with wonderful people, the benefits,and the room for growth made it an amazing place to work

    ConsUnrealistic quotas in place that can make work more stressful than it needed to be and not enough communication across teams without corporate chest beating

    Advice to Senior ManagementDo away with quotas and do more to motivate people to achieve whatever goal you have

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Support Center (Corporate Office) Review (not shop level)

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee) Chicago, IL

    ProsCompany is full of great people with great attitudes. Diversity is welcome. Potbelly values include Accountability, Positive Energy, Coaching, etc. Company seems to want you to succeed...

    ConsInconsistent messages. Company claims to care about its people, but some of the longest-standing employees have seen a move toward a negative direction. Pressure is on to make money. IPO started great and is currently suffering. Company puts all of its resources into the shops without seeming to understand that in order for the shops to succeed, they need a strong base at the Support Center (Corporate Office). Instead of creating proven strategies that develop their people at the office (much as they do for the shops), they rely on direct supervisors for this. Your development is only as good as your direct supervisor. If you fail to succeed or develop due to poor management, in all likelihood, it will not work out long term.

    Advice to Senior ManagementPut more resources into the Support Center. Your base is crumbling. The house of cards will fall without it.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Great place for a first time job

    General Employee (Former Employee) Warrenville, IL

    Proslots of cool people, most of the time not bored, great food

    ConsSome odd people working there

    Advice to Senior Managementsome managers are very condescending

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    • Culture & Values
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    • Approves of CEO

     

    Corporate sucks

    Shift Lead (Current Employee) Des Plaines, IL

    ProsGreat with flexibility with hours. The employees become your family.

    ConsThey don't like you to work overtime and do not pay extra for holidays. They give small yearly raises based on the stores overall performance. The average raise is about 20 cents...

    Advice to Senior ManagementGive better raises, pay extra for holidays.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    • Approves of CEO

     

    Support Center works with lean resources

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee) Chicago, IL

    ProsExciting brand that has a good future.
    Meal discount.
    Great teamwork among co-workers.

    ConsLeadership keeps asking for more output without providing the necessary resources.
    Little flexibility in work schedule.
    Poor work/life balance.
    Overkill from managment on the company culture.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • Senior Management
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    • Approves of CEO

     

    Fun and relaxed

    Shift Leader (Former Employee) Chicago, IL

    ProsGreat atmosphere for regular employees, lots of fun. Uniforms are comfortable, reasonable hours, good food, too.

    ConsBenefits don't kick in until after a year of full time, which can be difficult to achieve the right number of hours. Moving up in the company can make you feel like a trained monkey

    Advice to Senior ManagementDon't take advantage of your employees. Use their talents, don't exploit their desire for promotion

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Upper management doesn't have the same values of those at Shop level.

    General Manager (Current Employee) Chicago, IL

    ProsThe people in the shops are awesome. Each shop has great energy and truely enjoys making customers happy. Training is very thorough and progression with the company is great (if you have the right bosses).

    ConsIt all depends on your supervisor. You can move quickly through the ranks with hard work -- or you can not. Unfortunately it depends how motivated or on top of it your DM or MM are. Wages are not high, but they are not afraid to dangle Bonus' in front of you to keep you interested.

    Advice to Senior ManagementBe in touch with your GMS as much as you are with your MMs. The GMs are the ones in the shop, daily, making decisions that are driving, or hurting, your business. Don't be afraid to give praise once in a while instead of having shops dread when you walk in the door...knowing you will leave without a single "salute".

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    • Disapproves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Worked here for 7 years, glad to be leaving

    General Manager (Current Employee) Chicago, IL

    Pros-Starting pay. My starting pay was terrific, and one of the things that led me here in the first place.
    -No late nights. Potbelly is primarily a lunch concept, which means I'm home for dinner 5 nights/week
    -People in the shops are a LOT of fun to be around. They are encouraged to have fun on the shifts, which makes work more fun.
    -Customers love the brand.

    Cons-Favoritism is at a ridiculous level in getting promoted. I ran a 4.8/5.0 scorecard YTD for 6 month and was told I still needed to prove myself. Huh?
    -No ability to control my staff. They can, and will, get away with anything because HR will not let you fire them for anything. I've caught people stealing and been told I couldn't fire them. No Call/No Show? No problem! You can keep on going and working here, even though it explicitly says in the employee handbook you will be fired for it.
    -No development plans. Potbelly preaches about coaching, but my continuous development plan has been an utter joke. In the 7 years I've been with the company, it's merited 2 comments, total. Both of which were, "Good goals."
    -I've been promoted twice...neither promotion came with ANY raise. Huh?
    -Being forced out with little to no reason. I was told my inventory was out of control (0.51% variance is out of control?), and that I should start looking for another job because, I quote, "Improvement won't help. It's just a matter of time." Way to tell me my performance doesn't matter and you're considering termination for some political reason. Bye!
    -RIDICULOUS budget process. They ask us to write our own budgets, but by the time they come back they resemble absolutely nothing like what I wrote. I know I sure didn't budget myself a 15% increase in sales from last year, but that's what came back. Really? 15%?!
    -Benefits are rapidly disappearing. Used to get days off for Christmas and Thanksgiving. Took those away (from ops people only, Support Center works 3 day weeks for those holidays, we work 5)...prescriptive schedules for general managers...can't even write our own schedule anymore based on the needs of the shop...just what Alwyin guessed they would be for every shop that fits into one of 4 "brackets" from his ivory tower.

    Advice to Senior ManagementGet off your high horses. Almost everybody in the senior management came from an operations background, and has run a shop (whether Potbelly or not) at some point in the past...remember that. There is more to running a shop than achieving a budget of 15% over past year sales.
    People MATTER. In your mad rush for cash and becoming public, you've forgotten that.
    Practice what you preach. If I told my boss that the weather was to blame for poor results, he'd (rightly so) eat me alive, yet that's exactly what Aylwin told investors. ("There is no doubt that the external environment has been disruptive")
    If you want us to act like business owners, treat us like it. No profit sharing, taking away our stock options, and handing out prescriptive schedules for general managers doesn't sound like being a business owner to me.
    Have you seen the stock prices?

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    No development opportunities

    General Manager (Current Employee) Chicago, IL

    ProsGood training programs for associate, Shift Leader, and manager roles.

    ConsFavoritism is apparent in the development of GMs, talent not supported and no performance plans for GMs.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Doing a lot for a little

    Associate (Current Employee) Chicago, IL

    ProsDiscount on Food, cool co worker

    ConsRude customer( but that's anywhere) Manager can be pretty

    Advice to Senior ManagementPotbelly workers do a lot and to be paid a quarter over mininum wage is kind of insulting.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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