Why Panera Bread Is the Best Fast Food Restaurant in America

I worked at this marvelous culinary establishment during all 4 years of college. It's 💯. Here are my insights.
  1. It's technically "fast-casual"
    Which means the food is served to you in about the same time as a McDonalds but in a nicer, more homey setting.
  2. They have a "no-no" list of bad ingredients they don't use
    Artificial preservatives, sweeteners, coloring
  3. The light jazz music
    Also, fireplaces!
  4. They give back to the community.
    Whenever I helped close the store at night, we donated all uneaten foods to a local church. They also have "pay what you can" stores in select cities.
  5. They're constantly innovating, and their menus are seasonal and localized.
    Summer salads to Christmas cookies to flatbread pizzas to clam chowder!
  6. Because between memorial and labor days, you get to experience the strawberry poppyseed salad
    It is heaven on earth.
  7. You can eat mac n cheese in a bread bowl if you so desire
    Which, trust me, people do.
  8. So. Many. Different. Breads
    Rye. Sesame semolina. Challah. Whole grain. Cinnamon raisin. Tomato basil. And many more.
  9. Almost everything about it is underrated
    Are you familiar with their breakfast pastries? Pastas? Their variety of bagels? Lentil quinoa bowls?
  10. Can't decide what you want? You pick two.
    Literally, that was the most popular menu option when I worked there. Pick either a half sandwich, half salad or soup.
  11. You get a free side with every meal.
    "Chips, apple or baguette?" I will have this phrase etched into my mind for eternity.
  12. The required attire for employees is just a solid color polo.
    Which made it easy for me going from class to work in a pinch!
  13. It has a devoted cult following among the elderly population.
    Both sets of my grandparents love it. And two elderly couples in the town I worked in got me birthday and graduation cards! The sweetest.
  14. They have a phenomenal rewards program!
    Get your My Panera Card today.
  15. They hire bakers who come in at 9pm and leave by 5am to literally bake all night.
    And all the bakers I worked with had gone to culinary school.
  16. If this isn't an ad for Panera, I don't know what is.