In a ceremony to be held on Thursday, November 15, Panera Bread Chairman/CEO Ron Shaich, founder Ken Rosenthal, and other company representatives will be joined by community and non-profit organizations to commemorate this major anniversary.
The bakery-cafe at 10312 Manchester Road in Kirkwood, which first opened its doors in 1987, will be the site of Thursday's celebration. Festivities begin at 3:30 p.m. and will include bread breaking ceremonies, recognition of long-time employees and customers, and a scheduled appearance by Kirkwood mayor Mike Swoboda.
"Twenty years is an incredible milestone for our brand," says Shaich. "That we've been welcomed in over 1,100 communities since our beginnings in Kirkwood, signifies what we have long thought true -- customers appreciate real food rooted in artisan bread, engaging people and a warm and inviting environment."
Panera Bread will also recognize its relationships with local charitable organizations; among them Saint Louis based Operation Food Search, which has received over $8 million in bakery products and monetary donations from the company and its customers since 1990.
"Panera Bread's generosity has helped us get food and supplies to those who need it the most," says Sunny Schaefer, Operation Food Search's Executive Director, who is also scheduled to appear at the celebration. "Our relationship with Panera means a great deal to our organization, and even more to the people we serve."
With its identity rooted in handcrafted, fresh-baked, artisan bread, Panera Bread is committed to providing great tasting, quality food that people can trust. Highlighted by antibiotic free chicken, whole grain bread, select organic and all-natural ingredients and a menu with zero grams added trans fat, Panera's bakery-cafe selection offers flavorful, wholesome offerings. The menu includes a wide variety of year-round favorites to compliment new items introduced seasonally with the goal of creating new standards in everyday food choices. In neighborhoods across the country, guests are enjoying Panera's warm and welcoming environment featuring comfortable gathering areas, relaxing decor, and free WiFi Internet access. At the close of each day, Panera Bread bakery-cafes donate bread and baked goods to community organizations serving those in need.