Friday, January 23, 2009

Panera to Celebrate Breakfast (Free Samples!)

On Wednesday, January 28, Panera Bread locations will be presenting their new "breakfast experience" to customers with free cups of their new Light and Dark Roast coffees and free samples of their grilled breakfast sandwiches and new Strawbery Granola Parfait.

Panera will also be inviting customers to donate a dollar on Wednesday to help support their Operation Dough-Nation Community Breadbox program.  In 2007 Panera donated a retail value of over $40 million worth of bread and baked goods to charitable organizations through this program.

“We are very proud of what we have achieved at breakfast at Panera,” said Ronald Shaich, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Panera Bread. “We’re looking forward to celebrating breakfast with our customers and joining them in supporting our local communities.”
Panera Bread has been working for more than two years to perfect its two unique new coffee blends — a Light Roast and a Dark Roast. The Light Roast Coffee is a new blend of some of the finest South and Central American beans, roasted lighter for a smooth, classic taste. The Dark Roast Coffee is a new blend of top Costa Rican beans, created for customers who prefer a robust, balanced, full-bodied coffee. All Panera Bread bakery-cafes will continue to carry its current Hazelnut and Decaffeinated coffee blends, as well as a selection of specialty Espresso and Espresso-based drinks expertly prepared by trained baristas.

By the way, Panera's Strawberry Granola Parfait (that they'll be giving free samples of on Wednesday) has 310 calories, 110 calories from fat, and 12 grams of fat.  The full nutritional information is below.  They use Stonyfield Farm organic low-fat vanilla yogurt.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Panera's New Tomato & Mozzarella Panini

Panera has introduced a new Panini, the Tomato & Mozzarella. It includes fresh mozzarella, roasted and fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and sun-dried tomato pesto on Ciabatta.

Panera has also brought back their Orchard harvest Salad which includes d'Anjou pears, dried cherries, toasted pecans, Gorgonzola, field greens, and romaine with cherry balsamic vinaigrette.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Fast food chains at 1000 mark

Sure, Subway has 20,755 locations and McDonald's has 13,744, but for some up-and-comers, the 1,000 restaurants mark is a huge one.

USA Today
has an article on the front page of their "Money" section this morning about some chains that have "hit the big 1-0-0-0." Some excerpts:

Papa Murphy's, the ready-to-bake pizza maker, has reached 1,000 units after 23 years in business.

WingStreet, on the other hand, has reached 1,000 units in just 4 years. Of course, they share locations with Pizza Hut and are owned by Yum Brands.

Panda Express started in 1083 and now has 1,000 restaurants.

Sbarro's, the Italian fast food chain, opened its 1,000th location in Istanbul, Turkey and expects much of its future growth to occur outside the US.

Panera Bread took 25 years to reach 1,000 restaurants this year.

source: USA Today


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Panera's Pink Ribbon bagel

Panera Bread is helping in the fight against breast cancer by offering a specially created ribbon-shaped bagel in more than 1,100 Panera Bread bakery-cafes during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

During the month of October Panera Bread and its franchisees will donate a portion of the proceeds from each Pink Ribbon Bagel sold at participating bakery-cafes to a variety of breast cancer causes, including the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization.

In 2006, nearly $200,000 was raised from Pink Ribbon Bagel sales and donations.

“Panera Bread is committed to serving the members of our local communities, many of whom have had their lives touched by breast cancer,” said Panera Bread CEO Ron Shaich. “We are honored to support a variety of organizations fighting to find a cure for breast cancer.”

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Is a burrito a sandwich?

Until I read about a lawsuit in Shrewsbury, MA this week I would have never imagined that question being asked.

But Panera Bread Co. feels certain that a burrito is, in fact, a sandwich... at least when it helps them limit competition to one restaurant in their fast-casual chain.

Panera sued their landlord to try and stop a Qdoba Mexican Grill from opening in the same shopping center because they had a clause in their lease preventing the landlord from renting space to another sandwich shop.

The judge ruled against Panera, deciding that a burrito is not a sandwich. Duh!

more from the AP:

Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Locke cited Webster's Dictionary as well as testimony from a chef and a former high-ranking federal agriculture official in ruling that Qdoba's burritos and other offerings are not sandwiches.

The difference, the judge ruled, comes down to two slices of bread versus one tortilla.

"A sandwich is not commonly understood to include burritos, tacos and quesadillas, which are typically made with a single tortilla and stuffed with a choice filling of meat, rice, and beans," Locke wrote in a decision released last week.

In court papers, Panera, a St. Louis-based chain of more than 900 cafes, argued for a broad definition of a sandwich, saying that a flour tortilla is bread and that a food product with bread and a filling is a sandwich.

Qdoba, owned by San Diego-based Jack in the Box Inc., called food experts to testify on its behalf.

Among them was Cambridge chef Chris Schlesinger, who said in an affidavit: "I know of no chef or culinary historian who would call a burrito a sandwich. Indeed, the notion would be absurd to any credible chef or culinary historian."


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Char-marked fast food chicken

The June issue of Fast Company has a great article entitled "The Char Mark Conspiracy" that reveals how fast food grilled chicken breasts are really cooked.

American's, especially the health conscious ones, have gravitated towards the grilled chicken breast in recent years. Many health & diet groups extol its' virtues over beef. But the fast food grilled chicken is a little different than what we'd grill at home. Consider these examples:
  • Burger King's Tendergrill fillet contains added chicken fat and more than 30 other items.
  • McDonald's Grilled Chicken fillet has up to 20% "solution" by weight.
  • The chicken in Panera Bread's Chicken Salad Sandwich includes beef extract, for extra chicken-y goodness.
And actual grilling is expensive on a large, fast food, scale. As a result it is quite rare in the fast food industry. Most chicken is 'grilled' with jets of hot air. This convection cooking, as opposed to actual grilling over an open flame, provides the highest "yield," retaining the marinade and maximizing the weight of the final product.

Subsequently, something must be done to 'brand' the chicken so that it at least looks like it has been grilled:
To create the "appearance that the product may have been cooked on a backyard grill," the newly baked chicken fillets are often branded with "char marks," explains Jan Gaydos, director of marketing at FMC FoodTech, a manufacturer of industrial cooking equipment. The company's CM-40 II Charmarker uses red-hot branding wheels to burn grill marks onto the surface of chicken breasts as they emerge from the oven.
The photo above, from FMC's website, shows the work of the CM-40 II Charmarker.

This is reminiscent of, but not quite as scary as, the fake ribs in a McRib patty!

The chicken for 9 of the top 10 fast food restaurants is char-marked by Pilgrim's Pride. The only major fast food chain that actually grills chicken is Chik-fil-a, for their Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich.