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As Panera Bread ushers in its “new period” with a new menu, the hope is that its meals high quality would solely enhance. Nevertheless, latest studies point out that the bakery-café chain is likely to be slicing corners within the title of effectivity and penny-pinching.

Panera’s menu revamp (the newest of many) eradicated some gadgets, together with flatbread pizza, whereas including extra protein and bigger serving sizes, in addition to introducing some new gadgets at a extra reasonably priced worth level. Nevertheless, Reuters reports that in an effort to make these updates financially possible, Panera is likely to be going again on its dedication to solely utilizing antibiotic-free meat in its meals.

Reuters cites inner firm paperwork that directed Panera restaurant operators to take away any signage that included the phrases “No Antibiotics Ever,” “Vegetarian Fed,” “Grass Fed Pasture Raised,” “Animal Welfare,” or any point out of “Hormones”; the deadline to take away these indicators was set for March 27. Reuters notes that the paperwork present that enjoyable these high quality requirements would save Panera an estimated $21 million in annual prices.

The paperwork set up a brand new coverage with regards to the model’s suppliers and instantly opposes the corporate’s prior requirements. In 2014, Panera introduced (and closely promoted) that it could be eradicating synthetic colours, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives from its all of its meals by 2016, Restaurant Enterprise reported on the time. Panera additionally maintains a “No No List” of ingredients that it doesn’t permit in its meals as a part of its dedication to make use of solely “clear” substances. Nevertheless, as Reuters studies, the checklist was lately up to date to take away “phosphates, sorbic acid, and maltodextrin” from the checklist.

The interior paperwork reviewed by Reuters reveal that below the brand new coverage, Panera permits for a few of its pork and turkey merchandise to comprise antibiotics and for its hen and cattle to return from suppliers who use feed containing animal products.

Along with altering its tune on meat merchandise, Panera has additionally shifted its course of for its baked items away from freshly baked to extra par-baking, Nation’s Restaurant Information reports. Par-baking implies that dough is partially baked off-site after which instantly frozen in order that it may be shipped out and completed in an on-site oven afterward.

Panera has at all times had par-baked gadgets, however in line with workers who spoke with Nation’s Restaurant Information, these have elevated recently. This has led to layoffs, with many bakers’ hours being so drastically diminished that they’ve needed to give up as a result of they will’t make a dwelling. Panera has additionally began to put in extra freezers behind its restaurant places.

“Round two years in the past is after we first began listening to of frozen bread,” stated ‘M.J.,’ a baker coach specialist at Panera, to NRN. “We’ve at all times had some degree of premade frozen sweets or pastries… What’s new is frozen sweets that take little to no prep earlier than or after they arrive out of the oven. Our croissants, pecan braids and cinnamon rolls are just some gadgets which were fully redone to take away any prep earlier than popping out of the oven, and minimal ending after.”

The truth that Panera makes use of this course of was highlighted in California recently. Whereas a brand new regulation will quickly require quick meals companies to extend their minimal wage from $16 to $20 an hour, there’s a carveout within the invoice for chains that put together bread on premises. This exemption would seemingly apply to Panera—besides that the dough for its bread, bagels, and rolls is made off-site at manufacturing services after which shipped to the restaurant places to be baked. Thus, Panera will doubtless have to extend its minimal wage together with each different chain within the state.

“We’re centered on serving meals our friends can be ok with, with the suitable mixture of high quality, style, and worth,” Panera stated in a press release to The Takeout. “As we work to succeed in extra friends, we proceed to carry ourselves to excessive requirements for the substances we use and are constantly making modifications to our menu to ship top quality merchandise. We strongly consider in transparency round our substances and make that info obtainable to our friends.”

A version of this article was originally published on The Takeout.

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