Potbelly Sandwich Works

www.potbelly.com

Potbelly Sandwich Works Reviews

Updated January 28, 2015
Updated January 28, 2015
175 Reviews
2.9
175 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Potbelly Sandwich Works President and CEO Aylwin B. Lewis
Aylwin B. Lewis
93 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

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Quitting was the best decision of my life

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

    I worked at Potbelly Sandwich Works full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    -If you work hard and show interest and put in the hours, you'll get promoted
    -Made it to shift lead fro associate in a short amount of time
    -Grew as a person and a worker
    -Good training program
    -Flexible scheduling for associates
    -Probably a good first job

    Cons

    -Shift leads are never allowed to take time off, always understaffed, staff incredibly stressed due to high sales goals but not enough staff and no one is allowed to go overtime.
    -Not enough pay for the amount of work.
    -High turnover rates
    -High school cliquish environnment
    -Miserable job means you go home miserable
    -Unprofessional attitude from GM- possibly just my store.
    -Nobody was ever fired- and that can be a bad thing when they should be for missing work, harrassing customers and female coworkers, giving attitude to managers.
    -Good luck getting a transfer unless you threaten to quit
    -Not allowed to go home even if you're sick
    -Certain employees favored over others
    -work/life balance is horrible. Never had time for anything

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great Potential, but ultimately not worth it.

    • 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

    Love the upbeat atmosphere and having a great time making people happy. Certainly a lot of potential for personal growth. Teamwork is great and it can really foster a family environment.

    Cons

    Profit is more important to Potbelly than people. Ultimately, you are judged on results (more specifically how much profit you bring in) over actual performance. If you make the company money, they love you. If things aren't going well despite working 60 hours a week, they will toss you to the curb. Expect to be stretched thin on management and stressed out. They are struggling with growth, as there are not enough people to fill their positions in new shops and they are not concerned with making their employees happy, which is leading to turnover. Many jobs are available for similar compensation and much less work and stress.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest in people. Unhappy and overworked managers make for unhappy employees in general and it snowballs into terrible turnover for the whole company. You cannot have a growing company and have this high of turnover. Many managers shrug off turnover as "no big deal" and it needs to be taken much more seriously. Care for your people, and they will care for you.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    A wonderful place to learn how I work on a team and improve my customer service skills

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Potbelly Sandwich Works

    Pros

    The people that work at potbelly are really great and fun loving so the energy is usually very positive to work in

    Cons

    There are some things that could be improved upon on a higher level

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest more upfront on your equipment. The food is great and we pay more for the premium product but invest in little things, better paper towel holders toilet paper dispensers, and stations that don't fall apart.

  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5.  

    Great Culture, Poor Leadership

    • 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

    Pros

    The work environment is great for a retail job. If you have a good work ethic, there is room for advancement in the company.

    Cons

    The Potbelly Advantage is poorly executed at some levels. I also feel the company is trying to expand too fast.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I feel the company needs to be more selective in it's hiring process.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6.  

    I had an excellent experience at this company

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

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

    Pros

    The hours were very flexible. I like the dedication to customer service that the company promotes. I really enjoyed my team and the customers.This is a great place to start if you are a current student or even a recent graduate.

    Cons

    Depending on your supervisor advancing to new opportunities can be rapid or very slow. Also, depending on your supervisor labor is not always equally distributed.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    A job where nothing you do is ever good enough.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Shift Leader in College Park, MD
    Former Employee - Shift Leader in College Park, MD

    I worked at Potbelly Sandwich Works full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    The fellow employees are generally very positive, helpful, and willing to listen to what you have to say. The job is simple, provided you are given access to all necessary resources. It's easy to adjust your schedule provided you are not a manager.

    Cons

    The pay is low. The upper management will rarely listen to any issues you may have. District managers will also drag their feet on hiring store management so that the store tend to be understaffed and available managers have to work extra hours. Very little positive or constructive feedback is given by managers. Also, there is a focus on brand values such as accountability but higher level management are rarely ever held to account for their actions, or lack thereof.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Please hire enough management staff for individual stores so that the management staff at those store isn't constantly overwhelmed by everything that needs to get done with noone to do it.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    I thought this was sandwich shop.

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

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

    Pros

    Interacting with the customers and meeting people. Very few late nights. Lots of opportunity to grow.

    Cons

    Way too much work. Systems are constantly changing but not improving. GMs have to follow a poorly written prescribed schedule which includes 6 day work weeks twice per period. Not enough support for people in the field or in the support center. Company goals are unrealistic.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Calm down, relax a little...it's a sandwich shop. Don't let your thirst for the almighty dollar run off all of your talented people.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9.  

    Great!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Store Associate in Bolingbrook, IL
    Former Employee - Store Associate in Bolingbrook, IL

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

    Pros

    Company culture is great, hire from within

    Cons

    Salary is not great, fight for hours sometimes

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep doing the same thing

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Going crazy

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

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

    Pros

    Some fun coworkers
    company has good values

    Cons

    Most of the management don't respect the feelings, and rights of their workers.
    Standing next to a hot oven, and breathing in smoke from the oven. Management wont hold themselves accountable when a mistake is made or when they are violating the rights of their employees.Management also disciplines the wrong people for the wrong things. An example of this would be they let coworkers of mine have their hair down, but get mad at me when I ask to get water or use the bathroom. I have offered solutions to help improve my specific shop, but they don't listen. They also only promote favorites regardless of work ethic. Only received a raise of 11 cents an hour, and that is supposed to be good. District manager insulted me, and didn't take my concerns seriously.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Respect your employees, listen to them, and work with them everyday to improve. Remember positive enforcement works better than blatantly insulting people.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 3 people found this helpful  

    Going the wrong direction

    • 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 5 years)

    Pros

    As a manager you do get free food during your shift and a discount on anything above your meal allowance. They have a great set of core values that they believe set them apart from everyone else. The brand has a good reputation and the company isn't all that big yet so you will actually meet most of the people that work in upper management if you are there long enough. The annual GM conference is great event that really makes you re-energized going into the year.

    Cons

    When I started with this company it was great. I was very excited about the potential of the company and the growth that they would likely experience. Over the past year or two things have really changed in this company...

    1) This company used to be very people focused and they would make sure they were constantly developing people but recently the focus has shifted to profit. I understand that you need to make money to exist but the people need to make the money for you. The people first mentality that they talk about in orientation is no longer their motto.

    2) A few years back they changed the name of the home office to the support center. They say they did this so it was clear that their role was to support the shops. This used to be true, but not anymore. I currently have several open work orders with the IT department that haven't been answered. The payroll department can't seem to pay people right and as a results, I have lost a great member of my staff. When I asked them what happened they just say there was a mistake, Nearly every payday someone comes to me and says they didn't get paid right even though they clocked in and out for all of their hours. The accounting department is pretty much non-existent as far as support goes. I always have to fear looking at my P&L because even though I know exactly what my numbers are, they always end up being different. Usually it's something that never got charged when it should have or a simple accounting error.

    3) More about what I mentioned above with accounting, they will tell you that it's too late to change anything once they close the books on a fiscal period, even if it was their mistake. Guess where 50% of your bonus comes from? You got it. They just took a big chunk of that. The values that all shop level employees are supposed to follow are NOT the values of upper management or the support center staff.

    4) This is probably my biggest con. I've consistently performed at a high level in this company and provide solid results even when the rest of the market may be struggling. Despite all of this, I am constantly pushed around and told different things about why I haven't received a promotion. I'd totally understand if this was something related to my performance but I have never been told that it was so I find it hard to believe that would be why. I watched other people come into this company and get promoted with months and they didn't even have the results I did to back it up. Is that really fair? I even just recently accepted a new temporary position by replying to the job offer saying "I accept". Guess what? A few days later they changed their minds. Is this even legal?

    5) The standard at Potbelly is to be 110% staffed. Meaning if someone calls off for their shift, you will still be okay. In order to hit the labor budget you are given, this isn't possible very often. If your shop is down in sales to what was budgeted, they still expect you to run the same numbers for labor. This can make it even more challenging since building sales requires some labor.

    6) They will tell you all sorts of great things about how you will work close to home, have a great quality of life, etc. If you are in management, this may hold true for some but it's certainly not the norm. They will move you to any location, at any time, without asking for your input. They will refer to the value of Teamwork to make you feel bad about saying anything against it. It doesn't matter that you have to drive 45 minutes each way and work a 10-11 hour day, every day. In most cases, there would be no additional compensation for this.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Start with focusing on the support center. They either need re-training or there just aren't enough people there to handle all of the shops. From there they need to really look at the people plan and place people based on their performance, not who they like and don't like. I honestly don't see myself with the company too much longer headed the current direction. I hope for the best but I know my talents will likely be better utilized and appreciated elsewhere.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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