Panera Bread Co. joins the dozens of major restaurant chains to announce restrictions and new protocols during the coronavirus pandemic. The JAB Holding company has already implemented free, contactless delivery now through the end of March with “mindful packaging” that is carefully sealed.
Among other new policies implemented for customers, Panera is enhancing its sanitization procedures and extending the expiration dates on Panera rewards points.
“We are taking extraordinary precautions to ensure that we can continue to safely serve our communities with their Panera favorites at home,” a letter to customers posted on the Panera website said. “We believe good food should be accessible to all, and Panera can help people with an easy, wholesome meal everyone will love during these trying times.”
Panera has also announced initiatives to help their employees during this time of crisis. Starting Friday, March 27, the company will be packaging weekly boxed meals for any Panera employee. Every week, Panera employees can pick up two bowls of soup and a baguette at no cost.
Like many restaurant companies, Panera Bread did not have a universal paid sick leave policy prior to the arrival of coronavirus. But in light of the global health crisis, the company has implemented emergency sick pay, which covers the cost of coronavirus testing and temporarily expanded sick pay for those who need to be quarantined.
The company has also called attention to its Friends in Knead nonprofit organization, which is primarily funded by Panera employees who help their colleagues that are struggling financially.
Outside of helping their employees and customers, Panera also announced that they will be partnering with chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen to donate to families around the country during this time of crisis. They also stepped up their food bank donations to Feeding America, with an additional 8,000 cases of soup and produce.
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