Panera Bread

Allergic Reaction

Some worry that the healthy eating movement hasn’t done enough to promote allergy-friendly menus.

Some operators have been slow to incorporate allergy-friendly menu options.
Though some operators have made allergy-friendly options a priority, others in the industry have been slow to change their menus.

Cutting calories, lowering fat content, and providing healthy, fresh ingredients have become increasingly commonplace in the limited-service industry over the past few years. But while U.S. quick serves have embraced the healthy lifestyle movement, some wonder if operators are still overlooking the need to offer allergy-friendly menu options.

Focus On the Values

Panera Bread’s “Live Consciously, Eat Deliciously” platform, which launched in late February after nearly a year of testing and research, is a first for the brand. Rather than touting Panera’s products, it focuses on the concept’s philosophy.

“We really wanted to talk more about why we exist as a company, rather than simply talk about what we do, which is make good soup, salads, and sandwiches,” says Michael Simon, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Panera Bread.

Nurturing Boston

Quick serves step up to support volunteers, responders after Boston bombings.

The Boston Fire Department was treated to free meals at Firehouse Subs.
The Boston Fire Department was treated to free meals at Firehouse Subs' Copley Square location.

As soon as he learned about the April 15th Boston bombings, Dave Tucci, the New England area representative for Firehouse Subs’ DMA, called the Firehouse franchisee closest to the bombings.

Tucci was relieved to find out that all employees at Firehouse’s Copley Square location, just one mile away from the first blast, were OK. The store’s only damage was its sign, which was lying on the ground. Still, the atmosphere in the area was chaos.

IFMA Recognizes Outstanding Limited-Service Brands

For the third consecutive year, The International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) recognizes four outstanding foodservice chain operators through the COEX Innovation Awards.

The winners will receive their awards during IFMA’s Chain Operators EXchange (COEX), March 3–6, 2013, at The Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas.

COEX Innovation Awards recognize regional and national chain companies that are shaping the industry through innovation in culinary, operations, marketing, and service.

Science: The Next Big Ingredient

High-tech cooking methods trickle into limited-service restaurants.

Sub Zero Ice Cream and Yogurt uses liquid nitrogen to freeze its desserts.
Sub Zero Ice Cream and Yogurt uses liquid nitrogen to freeze its desserts.

Quick-serve menus may start taking cues from the science lab as operators increasingly experiment with high-tech cooking methods like molecular gastronomy.

Molecular gastronomy, which blends technical food science and practical kitchen techniques, has been offered on exclusive fine-dining menus for more than two decades. Now, however, those scientific cooking methods are slowly making their way into the more accessible fast-casual and quick-service arenas.

Panera Extends Its Helping Hand in Boston

The Panera Bread Foundation opened its fifth nonprofit community café, called Panera Cares, in Boston. The cafe opening comes on the heels of four successful community café launches in St. Louis, Detroit, Portland, and Chicago over the past three years.

Panera Cares is a new kind of café, one that exemplifies an entirely different way of giving back. It is a nonprofit community café of shared responsibility. The goals of this charitable program are to help ensure that everyone who needs a meal gets one and to raise the level of awareness about food insecurity in the country.