Fast Food Restaurants What's New

Double Bread Bowls Are Coming To Panera Bread Locations Nationwide For A Limited Time

Last year, Panera Bread tested a Double Bread Bowl that had folks buzzing with excitement. Featuring an oblong sourdough loaf with two “bowls” in the middle, it gave people the ability to get double the soup or pasta with the same amount of bread.

Panera is now ready to unleash that concept to the rest of the country with a nationwide launch of the Double Bread Bowl.

double bread bowlPhoto courtesy of Panera Bread

Like last time, you can get any combination of Panera’s soups or pastas, including mac & cheese, inside of either of the bowls. Panera has also added some new items to their menu since the test last August, including custom-built mac & cheeses that will also be available options to further personalize your double offering.

There is one caveat to this, however, as those that order online will only get to choose from a lineup of five different soup pairings. They are as follows:

  • Chicken Noodle and Broccoli Cheddar
  • Creamy Tomato and Broccoli Cheddar
  • Broccoli Cheddar and Broccoli Cheddar
  • Bistro French Onion and Broccoli Cheddar
  • Ten Vegetable and Creamy Tomato

If you want to customize beyond this, such as piling on the mac & cheese, you’ll have to get the Double Bread Bowls in-store.

Panera’s bread bowl will be available from February 14th to February 28th at participating restaurants nationwide starting at $9.99 each.

Fast Food Video

Panera Bread Just Launched A Build-Your-Own Mac & Cheese Menu

Panera Bread just added something to their food lineup that no major national quick-service restaurant chain has yet to play with: a custom, build-your-own mac & cheese menu.

build-your-own macPhoto courtesy of Panera Bread.

The base of Panera’s creative lineup starts with their white Vermont cheddar mac. From there, you’re able to add on a variety of toppings at no charge. You can choose two premium toppings (out of a lineup of 3), and up to 3 other accompaniments (out of a list of 4).

Your options for toppings and accompaniments are as follows:

Premium Toppings

  • Avocado
  • Bacon
  • Smoked Pulled Chicken

Other Accompaniments

  • BBQ Sauce
  • Cilantro
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Frizzled (aka fried) Onions

If you’re not sure what to top your mac with, Panera also has a few pre-set options available. These include BBQ Chicken (chicken, fried onions, and BBQ sauce), Baja (avocado and pico de gallo), and Bacon.

Panera’s build-your-own mac menu may not have the variety of other spots, like San Francisco’s MAC’D. However, no other national quick-service chain has flirted with such a concept before, meaning that access to this mac & cheese creation hub isn’t too far away from wherever you are, especially given Panera’s national reach.

You can find the custom mac lineup at participating Panera locations nationwide, and also order it via their online app and website. There’s also a catering version that’s more of a build-your-own mac bar, where all of the toppings come served on the side.

Fast Food What's New

Panera Bread Tests Double Bread Bowl That Holds Two Soups At Once

As a Bay Area native, New England clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl has long been one of my favorite comfort foods. But as a Disney fanatic, I’ve also been turned onto the mac & cheese bread bowls you can carbo-load on inside of California Adventure. When I go to places that have both options now, I struggle with which item I want to fill my bread with. That doesn’t have to be the case anymore.

double bread bowlPhoto courtesy of Panera Bread

Panera Bread is testing out a new Double Bread Bowl option that would let me choose between the two pretty easily, because I can just get both at once. Shaped like an oblong loaf with two holes in it, you can choose two of the chain’s soup options that normally go in bread bowls. You can also swap one out for mac & cheese for a starchy soup, pasta, and bread combo meal.

Patrons can get pretty creative with the pairings stuffed into the double bread bowl as a result. Mac & cheese and clam chowder will probably be my guilty pleasure of choice, but a mix of broccoli cheddar and tomato soup also sounds pretty tasty. Tomato soup and mac & cheese is a classic pairing that would mesh perfectly in this new bread.

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The double bread bowl isn’t going to be available everywhere just yet, though. Panera is testing it in Philadelphia from August 5-31 at first, where it will be available both in cafes and for delivery. From there, we’ll have to see whether all locations nationwide will get that option as well.


Panera Bread Accidentally Leaked Millions Of Customers’ Info For 8 Months

Screenshot by Dylan Houlihan

Panera Bread had millions of customers’ credit card numbers, birthdays, email addresses, and home addresses out in the open for 8 months, according to Krebs on Security.

Apparently, in plain text, any customer who had ever signed up for an account on the Panera Bread site, had their personal information, down to their food preferences, visible directly on the site.

The problem was initially brought to Panera’s attention by security researcher Dylan Houlihan, whose information was also leaked on the Panera site. This was back in August, 2017, as Houlihan posted his story to Medium, showing screen shots of his conversation with Panera’s Information Security Director Mike Gustavison. Gustavison said they’d take care of it, and 8 months later, as Houlihan kept tabs on the Panera site, nothing had been done.

That is when Brian Krebs of Krebs On Security brought it to Panera’s attention, Monday. Krebs is one of the most credible sources for data breaches such as this, and Panera acknowledged him as well. Panera said the issue was taken care of, but two hours later, the information was still publicly visible.

That’s two different people, two separate acknowledgments, and two promises that it’d be resolved, but nothing was done — for eight freaking months.

That’s when Krebs really pressed Panera on Twitter, vociferously calling them out for telling Fox News that only about 10 thousand customers were affected, downplaying the number. In reality, Krebs believes that more than 7 million people could have been affected, although official numbers have not been publicly released yet.

Basically, Panera’s security team didn’t give a shit about the leak until they were publicly under fire. Millions of customers had sensitive information flapping in the breeze, and for some unknown reason, Panera did nothing to protect them.

If you click on the links now, they are dead, and no longer show the information. Krebs said there is no evidence of it being a problem, but we are still waiting on Panera to respond and assure everyone that it has finally been resolved.

Cravings Hit-Or-Miss

Propose At Panera On Valentine’s Day, They Could Cater The Wedding

If you think you’re slick enough to propose to your significant other at Panera Bread on Valentine’s Day, and actually get away with it in a romantic way, the fast-casual restaurant will reward you… maybe.

If you post a photo of yourself proposing on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, you can enter a chance to have Panera Bread cater your wedding.

The “enter to win” part is the kicker, as their cheap-asses will only select five weddings to cater. So after potentially humiliating yourself, and whipping out a ring over some broccoli cheddar soup, you might not even have your wedding catered for your troubles.

Maybe they’re worried about fake marriage proposals, but if that’s the case, they should have asked for videos, and cater everyone who just put themselves out there in order to have tomato mozzarella flatbreads at their wedding receptions.

If you want to give it a shot, the hashtag is #PaneraProposalSweeps, which is the most corny marketing hashtag of 2018. You have to propose and post the picture between 9 a.m., and 11:59 p.m. ET on Valentine’s Day.

Good luck on winning the sweepstakes, and also good luck keeping your S.O. after proposing at a Panera Bread.

Fast Food Health Packaged Food Restaurants

Panera Bread Recalls Cream Cheese Nationally Over Listeria Concerns

Photo: WikiCommons | Miosotis Jade

Patrons who purchase their cream cheese from Panera Bread may want to check their fridge quickly. Like, real quick.

Panera Bread announced that they’re issuing a voluntary nationwide recall of two cream cheese products sold in U.S. bakery locations.

The company discovered samples of a variety of 2 oz. cream cheese tested positive for presence of Listeria monocytogenes. According to the company, the products to be recalled are the 2 and 8 oz. cream cheese containers with the expiration date that’s on or before 4/2/18.

Here’s what they look like:

Cream cheese flavors include: Plain Cream Cheese, Reduced-Fat Cream Cheese, Reduced-Fat Chive & Onion Cream Cheese, Reduced-Fat Honey Walnut Cream Cheese, and Reduced-Fat Wild Blueberry Cream Cheese.

Blaine Hurst, Panera’s President and CEO, said in the statement:

“The safety of our guests and associates is paramount, therefore we are recalling all cream cheese products sold in the US with an active shelf life. We have likewise ceased all manufacturing in the associated cream cheese facility.”

He added:

“Only one variety of 2-oz cream cheese from a single day yielded the positive result. Our intent is to go above and beyond for our guests. You should expect nothing less from Panera.”

Listeria can cause infection and illness in small children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems. Sometimes, this could be fatal. Luckily, Panera caught this early on and preemptively issued the recall.

Anyone who bought these cream cheese products are advised to chuck them out immediately and visit for a full refund.

Health News Restaurants

Why Panera Bread’s Stamping Sugar and Calorie Counts Right On Your Cup

Transparency in food is always a plus, as we should know what’s in the food we buy, but are you ready to have it staring at you with every drink you take?

While it has become more common for restaurants to post all ingredients in their food, along with calorie counts, Panera Bread is taking things to the next level by actually stamping the calorie and added sugar counts of their 20-ounce drinks, right on the cups they hand you.

Now, whenever you look down at your cup, you’ll come face to face with the “Sweet Facts,” coming from its regular cola, lemonades, and even their teas.

The move coincides with their latest release of low-calorie, low-sugar drinks, and in an interview with The Street, Panera founder Ron Shaich said, “We want to challenge people to think about what’s in their food.”

He added that they’re not trying to be the, “Food police,” as evident by their willingness to sell sugary fountain drinks, but they also want to encourage people make more informed decisions about what they put into their bodies.

They started a soft rollout this week in major cities such as Los Angeles and New York, but you can expect to see them at all of their restaurants by mid-September.

Fast Food News Restaurants

Panera Bread’s $7.5 Billion Merger With Krispy Kreme Could Threaten Starbucks

Photo: Terry Johnston on Flickr

In the business world, major acquisitions can be useful in helping one brand get to the level needed to challenge other major companies in its category. That’s exactly what Panera Bread is getting out of a major takeover deal that was just approved by shareholders this past week.

First announced a couple of months ago, Panera will be sold to Krispy Kreme owner JAB Holdings for a total of $7.5 billion. In the transaction, JAB will assume $340 million of debt from Panera Bread while giving it the financial strength and capability to potentially challenge a massive coffee shop chain like Starbucks. This is because JAB already owns some major coffee brands and restaurant chains like Keurig Green Mountain, Caribou, Peet’s Coffee and Tea, and Einstein Bros. Bagels that can be funneled towards the growth and success of the nationally renowned Panera Bread.

Panera’s already doing some great things that have translated into improved earnings, like expanding delivery and digital sales and the removal of many “taboo” ingredients from their food that has resonated with most customers. Compared to the rest of the industry, including Starbucks, Panera is doing extremely well. It’s showing in their nearly 21% net income increase between the first quarters of 2016 and 2017, and a 5.3 percent jump in sales during the first quarter of 2017: a quarter where several chains saw only a one to two percent increase.

At over 2,000 stores and a $150 million posting in retail/grocery sales in the US alone, Panera does have some catching up to do to reach the 12,000-plus stores controlled by Starbucks. But the financial backing of a major investment firm like JAB and connections to major coffee brands like Caribou and Keurig gives Panera plenty of room to grow even further, potentially handing Starbucks some serious competition to consider.