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?