Panera Bread® Is the First National Restaurant Company to Offer 100% Clean “Build Your Own Mac & Cheese” Bar

New Personalized Experience Available for Digital, Delivery and Catering Customers

ST. LOUIS, Sept. 13, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Mac & Cheese is one of Panera Bread’s most popular items, with at least three million servings sold each month. Today, Panera announced it’s making the perennial favorite even tastier with a new “Build Your Own Mac” experience.  Guests who place orders online or via the Panera app can now craft their own cheesy creations with toppings ranging from fresh avocado, pico de gallo and bacon to BBQ sauce, frizzled onions, smoked pulled chicken and fresh cilantro. Panera has also added three new curated Mac & Cheese offerings to its national menu, including Baja, BBQ Chicken and Bacon Mac & Cheese. 

Comment from Blaine Hurst, Panera’s Chief Executive Officer and President
“As we look to the future, we’re focused on giving individual guests the meal that is exactly right for them, so we’re constantly working on new ways to customize even our iconic favorites, like Mac & Cheese. We’re doubling down on one of our most popular categories to offer even more options for people to eat what they want, precisely how they want it.”

Guests ordering the new “Build Your Own Mac” option can select up to five toppings, including up to two premium toppings – smoked pulled chicken, bacon, or avocado – and three flavorful accompaniments, including pico de gallo, zesty BBQ sauce, frizzled onions and fresh cilantro. Along with orders placed digitally for delivery or to eat in-cafe, Panera Catering will also offer a “Build Your Own Mac Bar”– perfect for an office celebration or gathering with friends and family.

Panera Mac & Cheese is made with 100% clean ingredients, free from artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavors and colors from artificial sources as listed on the company’s No No List.

Comment from Tom Sadler, Panera’s VP of Food & Beverage Product Development
“Our Mac & Cheese is so well loved, the idea of messing with a great thing was something we did not take lightly.  But we also think food should be fun - so we got into the kitchen and carefully selected toppings that we knew would complement our Mac & Cheese and offer fresh, exciting flavors. The new ‘Build Your Own Mac’ option gives guests one more layer of personalization to craft the flavor that’s perfect for them.”

The new Mac & Cheese Bar will be available for digital ordering from bakery-cafes across the country, and via delivery through the Panera app and website at participating cafes in the 43 states nationwide where Panera offers delivery. Panera delivery is available for lunch and dinner to offices, hospitals, college campuses and to your door at home in participating markets. The service is entirely digital via the Panera app or website, and meets pent up consumer demand for clean options.  Some restrictions apply.

To learn more about Panera’s new Mac & Cheese offerings, visit

About Panera Bread
Thirty years ago, at a time when quick service meant low quality, Panera set out to challenge this expectation. We believed that food that was good and that you could feel good about, served in a warm and welcoming environment by people who cared, could bring out the best in all of us. To us, that is food as it should be and that is why we exist.

So we began with a simple commitment: to bake bread fresh every day in our bakery-cafes. No short cuts, just bakers with simple ingredients and hot ovens. Each night, any unsold bread and baked goods were shared with neighbors in need.

These traditions carry on today, as we have continued to find ways to be an ally for wellness to our guests. That means crafting a menu of soups, salads and sandwiches that we are proud to feed our families. Like poultry and pork raised without antibiotics on our salads and sandwiches. A commitment to transparency and options that empower our guests to eat the way they want. Seasonal flavors and whole grains. And a commitment to removing or not using artificial additives (flavors, sweeteners, preservatives and colors from artificial sources) in the food in our bakery-cafes. Why? Because we think that simpler is better and we believe in serving food as it should be. Because when you don’t have to compromise to eat well, all that is left is the joy of eating.

We’re also focused on improving quality and convenience. With investments in technology and operations, we now offer new ways to enjoy your Panera favorites – like mobile ordering and Rapid PickUp® for to-go orders and delivery – all designed to make things easier for our guests.

As a result, Panera has been one of the most successful restaurant companies in history. What started as one 400-square-foot cookie store in Boston has grown into a company with more than 2,300 units, nearly $6 billion in system-wide sales, and over 100,000 associates. In more than 25 years as a publicly traded company, Panera has created significant shareholder value.

In late 2017, Panera acquired Au Bon Pain Holding Co. Inc., parent company of the 304-unit Au Bon Pain bakery-café chain. The acquisition reunites Panera and Au Bon Pain, both of which were founded by Ron Shaich, and will intensify Panera’s growth in new real estate channels, including hospitals, universities and transportation centers.

As of June 26, 2018, there were 2,085 bakery-cafes in 46 states and in Ontario, Canada, operating under the Panera Bread®, Saint Louis Bread Co. ® or Paradise Bakery & Cafe® names. For more information, visit or find us on Twitter (@panerabread), Facebook ( or Instagram (@panerabread).

Media Contact:
Jessica Hesselschwerdt