The Truth About Panera’s ‘Fresh’ Food

The Truth About Panera’s ‘Fresh’ Food


When you visit Panera, do you expect all their
menu items to be freshly prepared? If the answer is yes, we’ll let you in on
a little trade secret: Some of Panera’s menu items aren’t half as fresh as you think. You’ve heard the claims: “When Panera began, we decided to get up every
day and bake fresh bread from fresh dough.” Well, it turns out the crew at Panera really
does bake their bread on site, but the dough reportedly isn’t made from scratch on the
premises. Every day, prepared dough is evidently delivered
by truck from a source close to the restaurant, and it may or may not be frozen. A former employee told Refinery29: “[The frozen dough came] from a town about
an hour away.” If it’s any consolation, editors at Refinery29
mentioned that some Panera policies and practices have changed since that comment was made. But as recently as 2018, a supposed former
Panera manager said something very similar on Reddit, writing that: “Dough is sent fresh nightly from a regional
facility and baked fresh every night for the next day.” So… close enough? Are you sitting down? Panera’s mac and cheese is reportedly prepared
by an off-site chef and not inside the actual restaurant. In fact, someone claiming to be a Panera employee
wrote on Reddit that “The mac and cheese […] comes into the store
premade and frozen in a bag and it is heated either in boiling water or the microwave if
need be.” Meanwhile, a former Panera employee told Refinery29
that the mac and cheese shows up frozen in, quote, “individually portioned bags.” Okay, so the pasta isn’t made in the kitchen
right behind the counter… but c’mon, this isn’t Italy. “Snap out of it.” After all, in America, most of us are perfectly
content buying boxed macaroni with dry noodles and powdered cheese. With that in mind, the fact that Panera’s
mac and cheese isn’t made fresh in the kitchen isn’t the biggest deal in the world, is it? Mmm… soup. The ultimate comfort food. “Oh my, this soup’s delicious, isn’t it…?” Regardless of what Panera soup is your favorite,
it’s safe to say it was frozen prior to all your loud, satisfied slurping. In a Reddit AMA, someone claiming to be a
former Panera employee wrote that “The soups are made at a factory/plant/etc,
flash-frozen, shipped to us, and we thaw it out in what’s called a thermalizer, essentially
a soup-thawer.” Another Panera manager wrote on Reddit that “They have a company that makes the soups
and then they get sent frozen.” And speaking to Refinery29, yet another former
employee claimed that “Soup arrived in giant bricks that were heated
in a hot water bath in the back of the house.” Brick or no brick, you gotta admit the soup
at Panera is delicious… isn’t it? So what if they’re not whipping it up from
scratch in a giant pot. It doesn’t affect the taste, right? In a thread complaining about how overpriced
Panera is, a Redditor claiming to be a former manager defended the chain, claiming: “Panera is overpriced for sure, but their
foods have no preservatives and are definitely higher quality than any other fast foods […].” This alleged former worker went on to say
that “Some foods come frozen, but are high quality
in terms of ingredient sourcing […].” So what does that say about Panera sandwiches? “We hand-slice avocado, pull smoked chicken,
bake fresh focaccia, and craft every sandwich clean from top to bottom.” Panera’s sandwich meat may have been frozen
at one point, but the sandwiches are allegedly constructed in house. Another alleged former Panera employee claims
that “All hot sandwiches at Panera are assembled
to order and then pressed on a panini grill.” As for the salads, a lot of the produce reportedly
comes in fresh daily, so at least that’s somewhat reassuring. Isn’t it? In 2017, another former Panera employee spilled
some secrets to the MyRecipes website, claiming that the vast majority of baked goods aren’t
actually baked on the premises. This anonymous rabble rouser alleged that: “A large amount of the bakery products come
in frozen and are tossed in the oven when needed […]. The majority of goods in the
bakery case were created elsewhere, shipped in a freezer, and reheated.” But keep in mind that the name of the restaurant
is Panera Bread, not Panera Bakery, so maybe we should cut the chain some slack. After all, if Panera’s cookie dough is made
elsewhere, does that make its cookies any less delicious? Not in our book. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Mashed videos about your favorite
stuff are coming soon. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the
bell so you don’t miss a single one.

100 Comments

  1. Panera Bread – were lying to you and our food is full of preservatives.

    Mashed – who cares it tastes good don't sue us Panera Bread.

  2. I hate Panera , but I also didn’t expect an annoying hoe to narrate this, oh damn it’s mashed I forgot.

  3. I go to Panera for free WiFi and Coffee only nowadays.
    I go to TKB Bakery for sandwich, and soup 🥣 and salad 🥗 for Souplantation.
    Thee are real good pastries made by Whole Foods and many Asian Bakeries.
    There are so many competitors here in Southern California.
    😐 Sorry Panera 😐

  4. I work at panera and yeah the soup and the Mac come in frozen bags. We thaw them in a thermalizer in the back, and then the soup is poured in pots that we bring to the food production line. The Mac and cheese stays in the bag up until they cut it open and pour it into the bowl to serve it to the customer. One bag is a small, two bags is a large. All the cookies are frozen dough that we receive from georgia(im in Alabama), sectioned, and baked. All the croissant dough is frozen(cheese/cherry brittanys, straight croissant, chocolate croissant, souffles). The brownies and the s’mores bar are both LITERALLY frozen. We don’t even bake them. They just thaw, and they we dust powdered sugar on the brownies and serve it. Also, the cinnamon crumb cake is shipped completely frozen. We thaw it, throw powdered sugar on it, and box it or serve it from the display. It is almost an everyday thing at my job now that there will be flies and gnats touching all of the bagels and bakery items and im the only one who seems to care. My managers just ignore it. It’s so disgusting. Im about to quit because I’ve had enough of panera, so here y’all go😘

  5. I worked there. It’s pretty clean and fresh, and frozen soups and bread still ends up tasting pretty good. The only surprising thing is the mac n cheese comes frozen in individual bags, it’s put in the thermalizer with the soup

  6. As a former employee, I can concur the mac and cheese and soup come in frozen plastic containers that are heated in a steam table. The mac and cheese is then later microwaved for about 30 seconds to give a fresh appearance…

  7. I was told by a manager that the paninis are steamed in a bag when I confronted her about my soggy undercooked panini I got food poisoning from that awful place I can't even go into the store without getting nauseous

  8. I didn't even know they had mac'n'cheese. I'll never forgive them for discontinuing the pecan sticky buns. I'd never order soup there and their coffee sucks.

  9. There is nothing wrong with frozen foods as long as they are done right. Also helps with minimizing food waste.

  10. Someone claim to be an employee. I honestly, I can make every food in Panera at home even better. In essense all chain, all commercialized food are all crappy and will find away to bring the product to customer quickly efficiency and effectively.

  11. i work at panera. the only frozen things are the mac and cheese and tortellini. we do thaw our soups, but everything is very fresh. and every bakery item is baked on sight. i’m a usual closer, so i see bakers make lots of things.

  12. 2:29

    If it doesn’t affect the taste why do you make videos that criticize other restaurants doing the same thing?

    How much did Panera pay you?

  13. Panera is one of the cleanest, well organized and put together food chain I’ve ever worked at and while all of this is true, almost all the food you eat everywhere is also frozen and it really doesn’t affect the taste and is the most efficient way for such a big name company to produce their food

  14. Yup mac and cheese is frozen and individually portions. Soups are frozen put in a thermalizer. Meats are frozen and thawed.

  15. I used to work at Panera. The majority of everything said is true. Most of the food is frozen or from a can, overpriced hospital food if you ask me. I would only recommend the salads there honestly. The dough is made the night before at a nearby larger Panera facilitated to make enough dough for other stores, that’s what they mean by “regional facility” then it’s shipped out daily and bakers in house shape it and bake them.

  16. Oh no. The sandwiches definitely are prepared there. They fuck up my steak n cheese almost everytime and give me cold red meat. (Not gonna say its raw because I'm not 100% sure if their steak is pre-cooked.)

  17. I really don’t actually give a fuck I’ll eat the hell out of that shit anyway because their shit is some good shit. The video is making me want Panera even more. Y’all trippin…

  18. they never said that their products weren’t frozen. You assume that it wasn’t because of the term is fresh. Like you honestly think that they are whipping up soup in the back, and cooking meat. Your food takes no longer than 10 minutes, that’s impossible. Have worked at Panera, i can confirm that the meat come in frozen preservative free, the soup comes in frozen and is thermalized an hour before serving, all produce is shipped in and prepped in house, the bread, the Mac and cheese comes in frozen and thermalized, and pastries are frozen and backed at night and decorated in store , and all salad and sandwiches are made in store at the time of ordering. At the end of the day Panera bread is still fast food and it’s about the freshest and healthiest fast food you’ll ever get. It’s extremely naive to think everything has never been frozen. Lots of restaurants use frozen food, Olive Garden, red lobster, and etc.

  19. I used to work for Panera and the drinks you see to like the lemonade agave is made with half a gallon of the drink itself and the majority of it is faucet water in the back of the store 🙂

  20. This is essentially a puff piece minimizing the chain's sins against their "fresh" branding. After each segment, the narrator justifies why it's okay for this restaurant to charge unreasonable prices for subpar frozen/microwaved food

  21. I work at Panera currently
    1. We bake the bread on site, we don’t make the dough
    2. Mac and cheese comes frozen in plastic bags, it’s reheated in the microwave or in hot water
    3. The soup comes frozen in bags and is reheated in hot water (the soup is gross)
    4. All the meats come frozen and are thawed in the walk-in fridge
    5. All bakery products are baked on site but again, all the dough for pastries arrive frozen

  22. used to wage slave there, pretty much all true. i mean what do you expect tho, how fresh can something be if their goal is to feed you ~5 minutes after you order?? ofc its going to be pre cooked

  23. This is all true, been working for the chain for like a year and the food is pretty good. I wouldn’t pay the full price though and that’s why i only eat with my 65% employee discount

  24. I got a top 3 but this would be my first one 👇🏽

    I work there and I like chicken tortellini extra chicken with avocado 🥑 give it a try. Oh and the tobacco sauce in the mix.
    What’s your favorite meal ?

  25. I worked at panera and everything was overpriced and the mac was portioned off and we microwaved it for to go orders and put it in the therm (a big boiling pot) if you ate in house

  26. Panera is scamming people with the gimmick of using words like “fresh” and “clean” to make people think it’s healthy. 😂😂😂

  27. I’m a baker 👩‍🍳, the dough comes in fresh, Mac and cheese is from Nestle. Everything comes in a bag .

  28. I work at Panera and most of everything is correct about being frozen but all sandwiches and salads are completely fresh. When we close the store and Baker comes in and bakes all he bread for the sandwiches, bagels, and pastries for the next day. Every fruit and vegetable comes whole and throughout the day preppers cut and slice them when needed. At the end of the day all bread that was not used is donated to a local charity who comes and pick it up on site. Everything else is either stored away properly or wasted. Panera is honestly as fresh as fresh gets for a “fast food chain”

  29. 90% of what you buy at panera is frozen. Including all the bagels and sweets. Some sandwhiches are made 24hrs in advance and then placed in a steamer before being pressed in the panini presser.

  30. the mac n cheese one in the portion bags frozen is true and either is heated like the other soups or heated in the microwave

  31. We don't use panini press machines anymore, we use an oven that burns you and keeps you sweat a lot. What a fun and enjoyable place to work! Haha..ha..h.a…

  32. 90% of all lettuce in USA is grown in western states, the farms are irrigated from the polluted colorado river….that why theres so many recalls.

  33. I’ve worked at Panera and all of this is true. One of my friends works at the company that packages all the soups that gets sent to local Paneras.

  34. I used to work at a Panera Bread and everything said in this video is correct. Even though I don't work there anymore and ate there all the time, I still get their food every now and then. Overpriced, yes, but their food is still good.

  35. Oh my God I just had the Chipotle melt sandwich and the baked potato soup and yes it was delicious so I probably should've not watch this.

  36. What do you expect? Just because things are frozen doesn’t mean they’re “unhealthy,” it’s proven that frozen veggies are healthier as they store more nutrients. You want healthier quality fast food? This is it. They can’t whip things up from scratch in under 5 mins, be realistic!

  37. I work at Panera. I have since 2018. I have not signed any confidentiality agreements so I can freely say that most of this is true.

    Soups and mac: reheated in a rethermalizer like every soup chain
    Baked goods: all made in house, some doughs are as well, except for the current Campfire Smores Bar (the worst thing on the menu lol)

  38. I can't believe how some people are shocked at the soup and mac and cheese. like, how did you think we did it? Any other way would ether be super wasteful or we would just never have the soup you want. "Sorry, we're out of broccoli cheddar right now, please wait a few hours while we make more from scratch in the back."

  39. The mac and cheese is individually portioned so that later in the evening, after all the rushes, we only need to have two or three servings heated at a time (cause that's probably all we'll sell). Also if someone comes in wanting mac and cheese and there is none ready, we can quickly heat up some rather then saying, "sorry, we just ran out."

  40. Y’all are dumb as fuck. How do you think you’re gonna receive FRESH ass food hot from the oven in 5 minutes? I can’t believe people are this fucking dumb

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