Restaurant Reviews: Panera Bread during COVID-19


Tess Bower

Panera Bread located on West Central Street down the road from Franklin High School

Panera was just one of the many restaurants affected by COVID-19. The restaurant developed a system of curbside delivery and in-store pick up, along with taking many safety measures to ensure the health of their customers and staff. 

When you walk in, there are circular stickers on the ground that read, “One way, please. Thank you for social distancing.” These lead up to the ordering counter, where there is extra spacing between the customer and worker, along with plastic dividers separating the people. 

Staff will make any fountain drinks ordered (drinks were self-serve prior to COVID), and all food is put onto a counter where the customer can grab it when it’s done. This minimizes contact between customers and staff. Customers are asked to spend no more than 90 minutes in the restaurant, and to keep masks on if they are not actively eating or drinking.

When ordering for in-store pickup, you can order online through the website or app, and your food will be waiting on the pick up counter. 

Pantherbook interviewed members of Franklin High to get their opinions on the restaurant.

Sophomore Amanda Sher rates their bagels 5/5 stars. She commented, “The bagels are very good and they have a very nice beverage selection.” Panera offers a selection of brand name fountain drinks along with their own teas and drinks.

Sophomore Max Santiago also commented on their beverages, saying, “Their lemonade is very fresh, but I do not know if I would buy it again because of the price.” He rated it 4.5/5 stars.

Sophomore Katie Barrow highly recommends the modern caprese sandwich: “It is my go-to Panera order and it never disappoints. It is a little pricier than its value, but I don’t get it too often so I think it’s worth it.” 

On the Panera Website, it says this sandwich is made up of “basil-white bean pesto, sliced fresh mozzarella, parmesan, arugula, smoked tomato confit, fresh basil, and balsamic glaze toasted on Black Pepper Focaccia.” It is listed as $9.99 on their menu.

Sophomore Mikaela Robillard recommends the kids mac and cheese, but also commented on the price. “I like the kids mac and cheese but I feel like it’s kinda expensive for the size.” Her overall rating was 4/5 stars. The small mac and cheese is on the menu for $5.99, the bread bowl version is $6.99, and the large is $8.99. Personally, the mac and cheese is my go-to as well, but I do find it expensive for the portion size. Overall, I think the mac and cheese is very filling and worth the amount spent on it.

Official Pantherbook Rating: 4.5/5 stars. Panera has quality food that is seen as a healthier option for fast food. Despite this, the amount of money customers pay for the portion they receive is widely regarded as overpriced. I found Panera to be very safe place to eat in-person as well as to get curbside delivery and in-store pickup.