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Best Corporate Cafe: Immaculately conceived 

Panera Bakery-Cafe

There are 850 Paneras in the United States, and the name comes from a marketing meeting where they wanted something Italian- and bread-sounding. So they conceived of this place with free wireless connections where customers are welcome to set up shop. Go figure. But they've been in business a long time, so it must pencil out. It's squeaky clean -- immaculate, even. Comfortable chairs and tables with plenty of room to plop your notebook down and have a business meeting, close a deal, write a novel, do a spreadsheet, or Google or blog. It's the coffeehouse of now, and the walls bear some good-looking bank art. Excellent sandwiches and soups are all made from scratch daily. The bread and pastries are baked on site and have the right everything. The quality control mandated from corporate headquarters back in the Midwest got it right. Big plus for the health aware: The baked goods have zero trans fats. And the coffee? Well, there's probably a Peet's or Starbucks nearby, but at least the refills are free.
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)


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