Cover image for What is a Reasonable Sound-Level Expectation @ Panera?

What is a Reasonable Sound-Level Expectation @ Panera?

msarit profile image Arit Amana ・1 min read

This evening, I was working on one of my #passionApps at my neighbourhood Panera. A certain lady sat in the armchair about 3 feet from me, pulled out her laptop, and started watching upcoming movie trailers. Without headphones. Or earbuds. At a high volume.

I vascillated between feeling frustrated at her "cluelessness" and being amused at how my fellow patrons struggled to pretend that she wasn't being a nuisance. Eventually I was able to move to a quieter corner of the cafe.

My question is: What's an acceptable noise level for Panera-ish cafes? Hushed conversation? Playing a musical instrument? (we had one of those too!) Movie-on-laptop-no-headphones?

I'd love to hear your thoughts!


Editor guide

It's Panera, not a library or church. You're going to get loud conversations, babies crying, dishes clattering, those infernal buzzers going off directly behind you, and the occasional person who just doesn't care what other people think of what they're listening to. Sure it's rude but unless you care to ask them to stop being noisy yourself, your own threshold for acceptable volume doesn't make a difference. If you're easily bothered the library might in fact be a better choice, but long story short this is why people who have offices tend not to work from cafes most of the time.


LOL @ "infernal buzzers"


I agree with everyone else posts so far, but would like to add, it's only rude inconsiderate people who would sit next to someone who's clearly working and be loud. Now, if that's the last seat then i guess that's another thing.

I too like working in cafe settings for the background noise and getting out of my "normal" but some people sure do ruin it :/ I think you handled it correctly by finding a better spot suited for your needs. :)


I’ve had this exact problem with Panera - a family showed up 10 minutes into writing a blog post, and the kids started banging on the table and yelling at each other 😐

Most people will keep their conversations reasonably quiet, but there’ll always be that person (even in an office, in my experience). Invest in some noise canceling headphones and keep them in your work bag at all times.


Noise-canceling headphones: check!


As a former Panera employee, the acceptable noise level is anything that doesn't annoy the employees :P


I don't know what Panera is or why it's special but if you want to work in a public café you really need headphones, too much distraction otherwise. You can control where your eyes go, not what your ears hear.

For example I still don't get people listening to music on public transportation without earphones. They don't even enjoy it because it's mixed with environment noise, they just want to annoy people and make a statement :D