What You Can Learn from Panera Bread’s Menu Cleanup

What You Can Learn from Panera Bread’s Menu Cleanup
The St. Louis–based bakery chain recently announced that all its menu items are “100% Clean".
by Alise Bailey Jul 12, 2017 — 2 min read
What You Can Learn from Panera Bread’s Menu Cleanup

Panera Bread, the St. Louis–based bakery chain, recently announced that all its menu items are “100% Clean,” containing no artificial flavors, preservatives, sweeteners, or colors from artificial sources.

To clean up the menu of a chain with more than 2,200 locations, the brand identified 96 artificial ingredients and additive classes on a “No No List.” A food policy team partnered with over 300 food vendors to review more than 450 ingredients, and reformulated 122 items in the supply chain. Nearly every recipe was affected. The cleanup started in 2014 and took two years to complete.

“It’s a lot of work, but rosemary doesn’t necessarily cost more than titanium dioxide, or whatever it is,” said Ron Shaich, Panera founder, chairman, and CEO, in an interview with the Associated Press in 2015.

The results? Panera saw a 5.3-percent bump in quarterly sales after fully adopting the “100% Clean” menu. So being healthy is good for business, and it doesn’t necessarily need to cost you — or your customers — more. “Overall, menu prices haven’t gone up more than inflation,” Shaich said.

“Panera’s leadership shows that consumer health can be a priority in the corporate bottom line. If more brands followed Panera’s approach to transparency, informing consumers and developing institutional commitment, food would be healthier for all,” said Tom Neltner, chemical policy director at the Environmental Defense Fund, in a press release.

Panera is the first of its kind to undergo such comprehensive menu improvements, but it’s confident that its actions will encourage competitors to do the same.

And while it may not be realistic for you to do a complete menu overhaul at your own restaurant, consider adapting your menu with cleaner ingredients over time with these tips:

Clean food is here to stay, and you stand to benefit from cleaning up your menu.

Learn more about managing your restaurant and marketing strategies essential in the industry.

Alise Bailey
Alise Bailey is an editor at Square, where she writes about how to start, run, and grow a business, highlighting our sellers around the world.


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