Panera Bread Founder & CEO Challenges Industry Leaders to Eat From Their Kids Menus for a Week
ST. LOUIS, MO, 2017-Sep-27 — /EPR Retail News/ — Panera Bread today announced a new approach to kids food—children can choose almost any item on the Panera menu as a smaller sized entree, resulting in more than 250 clean menu combinations. To spark further dialogue for change, Panera founder, Chairman and CEO Ron Shaich challenged leading restaurant industry CEOs to join him in eating from their kids menus exclusively for seven straight days.
Comment by Ron Shaich, Panera founder, Chairman and CEO
“For too long, restaurants in America have served menus full of nutritionally empty chicken nuggets, pizza and fries, paired with sugary drinks and cheap toys. We believe kids must come first. As a parent, I’m proud that I could eat off the Panera kids menu and still enjoy delicious and wholesome meals. I’m challenging the CEOs of some of the largest companies in the industry—McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s—to personally eat exclusively from their restaurants’ kids meals for an entire week—and if not, to take a thoughtful look at what they are offering our smallest guests.”
In August 2016, Panera issued its Kids Meal Promise to express the company’s long-held beliefs about kids meals and commitments relative to its Panera Kids™ menu. The promise is meant to be a challenge to the restaurant industry and to all food manufacturers who offer kids food. The five tenets of the Kids Meal Promise include:
- Clean. No artificial flavors, preservatives, sweeteners or colors from artificial sources in any menu item (as publicly defined on Panera’s No No List).
- No marketing gimmicks. No cartoon characters, crazy colors, toys, or toy-shaped food.
- Real options. Let kids be kids. Let them be picky. Let them make their own choices from a menu full of tasty, wholesome options.
- Nutritiously paired. Growing bodies need a meal complete with nutritious sides. Not fries, not onion rings. Options like organic yogurt, sprouted grain rolls, apples or no side at all.
- No sugar-laden drinks as part of a meal. Kids meals shouldn’t be bundled with a sugary drink. Ours never have, never will.
Comment by Sara Burnett, Director of Wellness and Food Policy
“At Panera, we say let kids be picky—our cafes should offer the same choices and transparency to children as we do to adults. We’re not saying a child will suddenly order a salad over mac & cheese – but kids can surprise you when they have positive options to choose from. We believe that kids should have that choice, and furthermore that we should not bundle their entrees with fries and sugary drinks that make the combination a nutritional nightmare. Finally, we believe we should not induce the consumption of these nutritionally empty meals by marketing a kids meal with toys and cartoon characters.”
More than 250 clean kids meal combinations are available in Panera cafes as well as via all of Panera’s end-to-end digital pathways, including Rapid Pickup, Fast Lane Kiosks and Delivery. Each option is fully customizable, enabling a better guest experience for all people—including kids—to eat the way they want.
Third Party Support
Josh Golin, executive director, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood: “Panera rightly recognizes that healthy eating habits are about more than what kids eat, but also how and why. In an era when so many companies seek to manipulate kids with marketing, Panera’s approach is respectful of parents and children alike. When kids have the space to discover new tastes without the lure of giveaways and gimmicks, they’re more likely to develop a healthy relationship with food.”
For more information, visit www.PaneraKids.com.
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About Panera Bread
Thirty years ago, at a time when quick service meant low quality, Panera set out to challenge this expectation. We believed that food that was good and that you could feel good about, served in a warm and welcoming environment by people who cared, could bring out the best in all of us. To us, that is food as it should be and that is why we exist.
So we began with a simple commitment: to bake fresh bread every day in our bakery-cafes. No short cuts, just bakers with simple ingredients and hot ovens. Each night, any unsold bread and baked goods were shared with neighbors in need.
These traditions carry on today, as we have continued to find ways to be an ally to our guests. That means crafting a menu of soups, salads and sandwiches that we are proud to feed our families. Like poultry and pork raised without antibiotics on our salads and sandwiches. A commitment to transparency and options that empower our guests to eat the way they want. Seasonal flavors and whole grains. And a commitment to removing artificial additives (flavors, sweeteners, preservatives and colors from artificial sources) from the food in our bakery-cafes. Why? Because we think that simpler is better and we believe in serving food as it should be. Because when you don’t have to compromise to eat well, all that is left is the joy of eating.
We’re also focused on improving quality and convenience. With investments in technology and operations, we now offer new ways to enjoy your Panera favorites – like mobile ordering and Rapid PickUp for to-go orders and delivery – all designed to make things easier for our guests.
The result, Panera has been one of the most successful restaurant companies in history. What started as one 400-square-foot cookie store in Boston has grown to a system with over 2,000 units, approximately $5 billion in system-wide sales, and over 100,000 associates. In more than 25 years as a publicly traded company, Panera has created significant shareholder value. Indeed prior to the JAB acquisition in July of 2017, Panera was the best performing restaurant stock of the past 20 years, delivering a total shareholder return up 86-fold from July 18, 1997, to July 18, 2017, compared to a less than two fold increase for the S&P 500 during the same period.
As of June 27, 2017, there were 2,043 bakery-cafes in 46 states and in Ontario, Canada, operating under the Panera Bread®, Saint Louis Bread Co. ® or Paradise Bakery & Cafe® names. For more information, visit panerabread.com or find us on Twitter (@panerabread), Facebook (facebook.com/panerabread) or Instagram (@panerabread).
SOURCE: Panera Bread