To Herbert Hoover’s “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage,” add “a loaf of bread in every arm” — Panera Bread’s registered mission statement.
What sets Panera apart is the combination of an artisan bakery and restaurant — and the transparency that is missing from most chain operations. Check out Panera’s Web site (www.panerabread.com) and discover not only the characteristics of great handcrafted bread, but also financial data, bios of the company officers, and a list of ingredients and nutritional breakdown of everything on the menu.
Perhaps you don’t care about the 39 percent ROI, where the CFO went to college, or that a 2-ounce serving of country bread contains 5 grams of protein. But you might be interested in knowing that Panera sells artisan bread as a loaf, baguette, demi, bowl, roll, and miche. Or that they also make bagels, scones, muffins, brownies and cookies, and other baked goods; individual-sized soufflés; sandwiches; salads; soups (five choices every day); and frozen and hot coffee drinks.
The Palm Springs location makes “Dough-Nations” of unsold bread to AIDS Assistance Program, Well in the Desert, and American Cancer Society. The La Quinta location donates unsold bread to Coachella Valley Rescue Mission.
— Janice Kleinschmidt