Potbelly Sandwich Works

  www.potbelly.com
  www.potbelly.com

Potbelly Sandwich Works Reviews

Updated December 16, 2014
Updated December 16, 2014
162 Reviews
2.8
162 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Potbelly Sandwich Works President and CEO Aylwin B. Lewis
Aylwin B. Lewis
88 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Sometimes you have the pleasure of working with really great people (in 10 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 12 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)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Good times are fun, bad times not so much.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Certified Trainer in DFW, TX
    Current Employee - Certified Trainer in DFW, TX

    I have been working at Potbelly Sandwich Works full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great atmosphere, coworkers, food, and pace. Working lunch can be a great time if you enjoy a fast paced environment (if not I would advise another job, if at a high volume shop anyway). The food is the best even after over 2 years of it, and you get a 50% discount on days you work at your shop. Coworkers are generally a little higher age range because you need people available during lunch time which keeps a lot of high schoolers from doing anything but closing. And the customers love the food, you get many almost cultesque "fans". Super flexible with schedules!!! Great for part timers! Great customer service, even if you take nothing else away from your time here, you will know what you are supposed to do when it comes to makeing the customer really happy. All my GMs have been great, AMs are a little more spotty, and shift leads it really just depends on what side of the bed one woke up on. Again super fun job and you know what is expected of you, they don't change things up too often and just kinda settle in. Once a potbellian always a potbellian.

    Cons

    Difficult to get full time, when a shift is only 3 or 4 hours long you have to quickly learn (be good and fast at) the majority of the stations so you can close or prep to get more hours. Advancement is only pursued when it is convienent, if it is not a higher ups idea then it isn't happening. If you are in a district with an RM that is out of "sync"(for lack of a better word) with your shop then it goes downhill quickly. If you don't meet projections or it is slow labor is very closely monitored and they will cut or call people out even if that only leaves one or two people doing the jobs of 3 or 4 (a busy line needs 3 people and you often close with only 2 so hope and pray you don't get busy) luckily it is generally more of a fluke if you get really busy in the evenings. They implement new product (both food and utensils) that aren't always better, specifically the Potbelly Knife™ which is not a knife but half a saw with a handle that is all around inferior to the old normal knives that were trained and used very well! Management makes promises or strings people along because " there won't be an opening in your district or region" but then you later hear they got someone else from wherever to do exactly what they said wzasn't "available or allowed" aka hypocrites. Just tell the truth or give realistic options! *(Again only if you are in a bad district).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The potbelly advantage is a one page document that dscribes your company and culture. A major part in the advantage is people, you have it multiple times. Maybe you should make your people happy so we can make the customers really happy like you expect from us. It is only fair we have the same expectation and sadly you are lacking. This is a great company higher up I am sure, but from the associate perspective I am not thrilled. You say a complaint is someone caring enough to give you the opportunity to fix it, why not drink the same coolaid you are serving to us (the associates and shift leads). Also for the love of god please get pepper jack cheese in the Texas markets, I'm tired of "not saying no" to every other customer!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great culture but too demanding (Corporate Office)

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Potbelly Sandwich Works full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    This is all for the corporate office, not the shops:

    Good office culture as far as the people are concerned. They teach everyone about coaching, leadership, positive energy, etc. Their company philosophy is one that applies to every day life.

    Cons

    Too demanding
    Office culture that was very positive is falling apart
    People are excited when they start and burned out within a month
    Employee facing claims to care about their people but behind closed doors it's all about the bottom line

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Not sure the current CEO is the right person for the next level. He was definitely the right person to go from the day he started through IPO, but now it's crumbling. Given his track record, it's possible he's not the right fit for this stage in a company's life cycle.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Crazy CEO; crazy senior management

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Potbelly Sandwich Works

    Pros

    growing, public company, benefits, salary was competitive

    Cons

    Management in both zones and corporate are like high school kids - keeping the unworthy out of the "in crowd". If you don't engage in gossip forget about being accepted. CEO is absolutely nuts - a closet eater who does not eat potbelly sandwiches (also does not eat in public at all), but would rather eat BBQ flavored potato chips in private in his hotel room. Allows this behavior to continue despite knowing the turmoil it causes. They will get sued by someone one day.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Make better decisions about the people who lead your teams.

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  5.  

    Precious gm

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Potbelly Sandwich Works

    Pros

    Great benefits/ time off/ easy concept/ support center is helpful/ customers/

    Cons

    Over worked. They expect you to run a shop when you're running shifts 9 hours out of your 10 hour scheduled day. So usually you're working a 60-65 work week vs 50 that is scheduled. Training program is ridiculous for managers. Understaffed shops and can't keep up:

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Slow down focus on each shop where they need help. Stop micro managing on uniforms etc and focus on keeping your people happy.

  6.  

    Associate

    Current Employee - Associate in Cincinnati, OH
    Current Employee - Associate in Cincinnati, OH

    I have been working at Potbelly Sandwich Works part-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Great place to work! Fun and relaxed environment.

    Cons

    Like any restaurant job, dealing with difficult customers can be hard at times.

  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great culture, but if your goal is to make it to the top, get ready to drink the kool-aid

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - General Manager in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - General Manager in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Potbelly Sandwich Works full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    By far my favorite thing about PSW was their culture and their support. They strongly encourage promotion from within the company, and provide many routes to do so. While the culture itself can be a little strong at times, you know you are supported in your everyday decisions. While you might have to fight to actually use your time off...balancing it with when your shop isn't busy and when you have appropriate coverage....you can always end your time off with your normal two days off a week - turning them into a long weekend perhaps, and only using two of your PTO (paid time off) days. Also, your bonus comes from your shop scores. If you can run and promote a happy, successful shop, you will be rewarded.

    Cons

    You are required to work 50 hours minimum, and often you spend most of that time on the line, working in an hourly associates job. That can make it tough to get other important tasks (scheduling, ordering, reviews, etc) done and not put in 65 ore more hours a week. You definitely need to have great time management skills, as they is always something around the corner for you to plan.

    While promoting from within is a big deal (and you can tell), sometimes it depends on your who report to. Some leaders are more motivated to be involved in helping you better yourself and your career. Others will make you fight to prove yourself day after day. The inconsistencies are frustrating.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Consistency among top leaders is key. GM #A needs to be able to have access to a leader that is just as willing, encouraging and supportive of their careers goals as GM #B. Not all District Managers care; some can even be distant and cold, so that while day-to-day efforts might be supported, the overall "culture" might have taken a major hit.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  8.  

    ok job

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Potbelly Sandwich Works full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    some of the people you work with are great, get to know loyal customers, benefits are decent, like 80 hrs PTO time as a shift lead

    Cons

    Hard to get promoted unless you are doing ALOT of butt kissing. Even then, it comes down to if your GM and DM like you. I have seen 22 year olds get promoted to AM and train for a GM but someone who has 9 years in the restaurant industry at 30 and much more mature doesnt even get looked at. People that deserve to get promoted often do not. They talk about the Potbelly Values all the time like Positive energy, but when management comes in, it is anything but positive energy.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Promote the workers who deserve to get promoted, not the ones sucking up to management and have no clue how to run a restaurant. How about using the values that are promoted by Potbelly when visiting stores. Smiling every once in a while will not kill you and neither will complimenting workers.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    Boring and defiantly too many lazy people

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous
    Current Employee - Anonymous

    I have been working at Potbelly Sandwich Works

    Pros

    Flexible hours and great food ,nice for teams

    Cons

    Hard to get a higher position

    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Only If You Have To

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Sandwich Artist in Minneapolis, MN
    Former Employee - Sandwich Artist in Minneapolis, MN

    I worked at Potbelly Sandwich Works full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    fun co-workers, decent pay, easy to move up

    Cons

    unsanitary, poor management, slacker co-workers

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    When team members warn you that the ham is a week old, throw it out. Don't just say okay and keep it because you are trying to cut costs. And quit saving sandwiches when there are mix ups, every one deserves a fresh sandwich, not one that his been sitting for god knows how long and might go in the oven for three seconds. Treat your employees with respect and dignity--listen to their suggestions and don't act like your above them.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    You could do worse.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Certified Trainer in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Certified Trainer in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Potbelly Sandwich Works part-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    The people I worked with were great. The managers were fair and friendly. You got a free meal for every shift you worked.

    Cons

    The pay wasn't good, but what do you expect with a sandwich shop? People who work there seem to get sick of it very fast and quit.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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