The Truth About Panera’s ‘Fresh’ Food

When you visit Panera, do you expect all their menu items to be freshly prepared? If the answer is yes, we’ll let you in on a little trade secret: Some of Panera’s menu items aren’t half as fresh as you think.

You’ve heard the claims:

“When Panera began, we decided to get up every day and bake fresh bread from fresh dough.”

But is it true? Well, it turns out the crew at Panera really does bake their bread on site, but the dough reportedly isn’t made from scratch on the premises. Every day, prepared dough is evidently delivered by truck from a source close to the restaurant, and it may or may not be frozen. A former employee told Refinery29:

“[The frozen dough came] from a town about an hour away.”

If it’s any consolation, editors at Refinery29 mentioned that some Panera policies and practices have changed since that comment was made. But as recently as 2018, a supposed former Panera manager said something very similar on Reddit, writing that:

“Dough is sent fresh nightly from a regional facility and baked fresh every night for the next day.”

So… close enough?