Not going to lie, the news of the Krispy Kreme owners buying Panera for $7.5 billion put a damper on my weekend. I'm still salty, but I'll stay hopeful that the German conglomerate, JAB, stays true to Panera's healthy, French-inspired roots.
We all know that Panera has not been the most consistent in terms of its menu. I doubt I'm the only one who misses the restaurant's originals, like the cinnamon chip scone, chicken Caesar sandwich, Asian chop salad, or Southwestern chicken flatbread.
So far, JAB has given no insight on how (or if) Panera's menu will be affected by the change. In memory of the old Panera, though, let's reminisce on some of the ways its menu has changed throughout the years.
Previously offering Thai Chicken, Southwestern Chicken, BBQ Chicken and Mediterranean Chicken, Panera removed three of the four original flatbreads, only keeping its BBQ Chicken. It added a Tomato Mozzarella flatbread in an effort to feature two in total, but come on, where's the flavor there?
Chicken Caesar Sandwich
Sourdough bread encasing thinly sliced seasoned chicken, topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, Parmesan, and Caesar dressing — could it get much better? After its 2016 push for a more "clean" menu, Panera knocked this goodie off the menu. Who else misses this classic? I mean, you can get a Caesar wrap anywhere, but a sandwich?
Starting in 2013, Panera began phasing out and changing the recipes of some of its pastries. This spring, Greek yogurt with mixed berries was added to the breakfast menu. Some may say it's a replacement for the more caloric, heavier breakfast desserts, but others disagree. This particular dish, along with the mixed berry scone and reinvented smoothies, brings a totally new vibe to Panera.
But who remembers the old chocolate croissant topped with chocolate sprinkles and glaze? Or the OG orange scone? What about the cinnamon scone before its healthy make-under? While it may have been a strong effort to keep things fresh and healthier, sometimes it's better to keep things classic.
And in case you've been missing the Asian Sesame...
So is everyone else.
JAB owns Krispy Kreme, Keurig Green Mountain Inc., Caribou Coffee, other breakfast/coffee chain restaurants, and now Panera. While it's early in the game and no one knows for sure where the restaurant is headed with its new owner, logic points us to the obvious — a breakfast and coffee-focused eatery.
Maybe it's great news for you, or maybe you'll start a boycott. Either way, there's plenty of at-home recipes you can find to satiate your Panera cravings. And if that's not enough, hop on board the comment train and complain about the changes. Hopefully our OG Panera lovers group is big enough!