Panera: better food, better quality

By Katie Engell
April 23, 2009

Shannon Keough

Panera Bread is a popular destination for those who want to eat fresh and nutritious foods. They offer customers a warm and welcoming environment to relax and enjoy their meal.

Panera provides customers with a coffee shop atmosphere, much like Starbucks, but in addition they have a large selection of sandwiches, salads and breakfast foods. The environment at Panera also allows customers to bring in work or set up their computer with free Wi-Fi.

They are specifically known for fresh bread?cooked daily and served with all their menu options.

Although Panera is a place to sit down while eating, it is generally considered a fast food establishment because customers are not waited on.

“I used to work at Panera and the one thing I appreciated was the friendly atmosphere. I would never consider it a bad job; it’s always been more of an enjoyable one just for that reason,” Kathleen Flynn, sophomore English major, said.

The menu at Panera provides customers with food options to satisfy any cravings but also keep a balanced diet.

Lately, there has been a huge shift in the fast food industry to serve healthy food.

Panera has taken this idea and ran with it. Not only is the food healthier and lower in fat, but many of their ingredients are now organic.

“I love the food at Panera because it’s just as convenient as a fast food place; but I order my favorite salads or soups instead of ordering something bad for me like a cheeseburger and fries,” Flynn said.

For breakfast, the bakery offers breakfast sandwiches, bagels, baked egg soufflés and fresh brewed coffee.

A healthier option is the granola parfait with organic low-fat vanilla yogurt and the new strawberry granola parfait.

Panera also has a wide selection on its lunch and dinner menus. The menu showcases various hot paninis, Panera signature sandwiches and several soups.

One of the healthier hot paninis offered is the tomato and mozzarella sandwich.

For café sandwiches, a healthier option is the tuna or chicken salad sandwiches.

Panera is one of the fastest growing high-end fast food chains in the area.

With any meal, there is an option of whole grain bread or an apple as a more nutritious alternative.

Combo meals are a popular selection on the menu. Customers can choose from half a sandwich and soup instead of buying a whole sandwich.

They can also buy soup and a salad as a healthy choice or soup in a bread bowl.

“My favorite thing to order at Panera is the broccoli and cheddar soup with half a sandwich. They have a variety of sandwiches to choose from but I love the half sandwiches and soup combos,” Danielle Finnegan, senior elementary education major, said.

Another nutritious preference on the lunch and dinner menus are the signature salads. Each salad has unique flavors and is made with fresh ingredients.

A new addition includes healthy snacks like a fruit cup with only 150 calories.

For more information on Panera Bread, menus and nearest locations, visit

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Katie Engell

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