Employee exposes Panera Bread for being a normal restaurant

Illustration for article titled Employee exposes Panera Bread for being a normal restaurant
Photo: J. Michael Jones (iStock)

Last week, an employee shared video on the social network TikTok that “exposed” the truth behind Panera Bread’s macaroni and cheese, which quickly went viral.


Many commentors expressed their outrage, wondering why they were going to a restaurant just to pay for, as one person called it, “glorified hospital food.” Well prepare to be disappointed, people, because this is how plenty of food at fast-casual and chain restaurants is made. To ensure quality and consistency across multiple locations, food is prepared in centralized commissary kitchens before being packaged and shipped to its destination. Once it arrives at your local Panera/Olive Garden/Cracker Barrel/“other,” it’s reheated and served, which is why your favorite dish tastes exactly the same on every single visit, no matter which location you’re visiting.


In a statement to The Washington Post, Panera representative Jessica Hesselschwerdt confirmed that the chain’s macaroni and cheese is “made offsite with our proprietary recipe developed by our chefs.” There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. I mean, do you really want your macaroni and cheese to be made by an hourly employee who thinks “exposing” their employer on Tik Tok is a good idea?

Allison Robicelli is The Takeout staff writer, a former professional chef, author of three books, and The People's Hot Pocket Princess. Questions about recipes/need cooking advice? Tweet @Robicellis.

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My ex-wife hated casual-dining places not because the food was reheated or any of that but because “if we’re gonna eat fast food, let’s just go to Del Taco and pay fast food prices instead of spending $40.”