If you're hip with the kids (which clearly I am...) you may have heard of TikTok, which is basically an app where people can make short videos set to music. These videos are usually things like lip-synching and dogs doing funny things, but one Panera Bread employee took it upon herself to make a video "exposing" how the brand's famous mac and cheese is really made. And it apparently got her fired.
A Panera worker who posts on TikTok with the handle @briannaraelenee posted a short video on the platform with the caption "exposing panera." In it, she wrote that she was going to be showing how Panera makes its mac and cheese. She shows herself grabbing a bag of frozen mac and cheese, putting it in a hot water bath, cutting open the bag, and pouring the hot mac and cheese into a bowl, alongside a french baguette (the only acceptable Panera side, TBH).
The video quickly gained a lot of attention and people were largely split on it. Some appeared to be grossed out, calling it "glorified hospital food," but others didn't seem surprised at all by the process. Others even pointed out that, um, this is actually a pretty common way to cook food, especially by fast-food restaurants (as someone who worked at one that was not Panera, I can confirm!).
Regardless, when the video was reposted on Twitter by the account @Uberfacts, Bri quote-tweeted it, saying that she lost her job at Panera because of the video. She also said in a later tweet that the restaurant asked her not to say anything else and that she wanted to respect that.
A Panera spokeswoman told Delish in a statement that Panera "generally does not discuss personnel matters," but confirmed mac and cheese is made offsite.
"Panera serves at least three million servings of mac and cheese every month across more than 2,100 locations, and to do that we adhere to industry best practices for food safety and quality. Mac and cheese is made offsite with our proprietary recipe developed by our chefs and using our sourced ingredients that meet our standards for our clean menu offerings."
She also continued by saying that the mac and cheese is "shipped frozen to our bakery cafes – this allows us to avoid using certain preservatives that do not meet our clean standards." And said that the process "ensures that people can walk into any Panera nationwide and get the same delicious, clean mac & cheese that makes it one of our most popular items" and that the chain "prepare[s] mac and cheese to order every day as orders come in."
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