Panera Goes Paleo-Primal?

Saturday, January 26, 2013
Posted in category Paleo/Primal

To me, Panera Bread ia a place known for serving dessert for breakfast, and sugar + bread at all other times. Horrible, get-fat foods, unless one sticks to the salad menu. Thanks to consumers becoming more informed and market pressure, Panera has come up with a brilliant solution: a bunch of real food piled into a bowl for breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. This mimics what I often do at home for my lunches at the office. Glass bowl + kitchen sink food assortment = great meal. For whatever reason, Panera is keeping these items cloaked in secrecy on its “Hidden Menu.”

Developed by Scott Davis, Panera Bread’s Chief Concept Officer, Panera’s “off-the-menu” dishes offer nourishing options that make sticking to New Year’s resolutions simple. All of these meal selections are an excellent source of protein and contain limited processed carbs. But you won’t find these items on banners in our cafes, or even on the menu board.

Here’s how you get the dishes — just tell one of our associates that you’re ordering from the “Hidden Menu”, and they’ll take care of it from there.

I’m not sure of the marketing reasons behind this “Hidden menu,” but the photos of the food options are gorgeous: steak, chicken, turkey, eggs, veggies, and fresh herbs. Just what a hungry person with a healthy body needs in a pinch.

The Paleo-Primal influence has commanded respect in scientific circles and has thus invaded the mainstream news, and now, the market is honoring the needs of its consumers. Offering real food in place of the usual industrial slop for people on the go, or for those who are too lazy to cook, is something to celebrate. The movement of commercial restaurants toward serving real food shows that offering fresh food options at affordable prices for the masses is not impractical while maintaining a profit.

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10 Responses to Panera Goes Paleo-Primal?

  1. Pam Maltzman says:

    January 26th, 2013 at 8:00 am

    Wow… and here I thought Panera was bread, pasta, and more of the same. Now I might have to go into one and see all this real food!

  2. cory says:

    January 26th, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    I reshared this and you’ve made the day of a bunch of people. The Panera close to me is in a beautiful, quiet shopping center. They have a lot of tables outside, so it’s a great place to bring a dog, drink coffee and meet colleagues. It’s been a terrible place, however, for lunch. Now it’s perfect! Thank you for this.

  3. Cherie says:

    January 27th, 2013 at 1:49 am

    This is great news. I’m glad I’ll be able to eat there again….it’s been years. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Weekend Link Love - Edition 228 | Mark's Daily Apple says:

    February 3rd, 2013 at 10:58 am

    [...] De Coster gives us the scoop on Panera Bread’s “Hidden Menu,” which looks suspiciously [...]

  5. Casey says:

    February 3rd, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    The reason for the “hidden menu” approach is not a marketing strategy – the strategy is not spending a fortune on marketing something they aren’t sure would be successful. They don’t want to spend the money changing menu boards in every location and on a marketing campaign on this. I can’t remember where (I think it was a local paper) that the company head said this. It kind of sounded like they think this might not go over well and will be scrapped in the near future if that is the case, but are giving it a shot. Consumer response is going to be what gets this on the main menu, so hopefully there is enough of that. If one chain restaurant has success with these types of options, that also looks appealing to other restaurants to try it out. I’ve had three items from the hidden menu and I must say I’m very glad to have a fast-food paleo option now.  

  6. Mary V. says:

    February 3rd, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    “the photos of the food options are gorgeous: steak, chicken, turkey, eggs, veggies, and fresh herbs.”

    I got one of these last week – eggs and steak with an avocado. Not too surprisingly it was not styled quite as beautifully as those glamour shots. Still reasonably tasty, though I wish the steak had been warm. Next time I will ask them to do that and to put a bed of lettuce under it.

  7. Amy Alkon says:

    February 3rd, 2013 at 7:41 pm

     That steak bowl looks good. The rest look like they’re too devoid of fat for me.

  8. Jesse says:

    February 3rd, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    I love this new “hidden menu” at Panera as it gives me more choices outside of the kitchen but also I don’t feel so silly when meeting my bread eating friends for coffee. I’m usually the one who only orders a coffee or tea while they eat their bagels or quiches. Last time I was at Panera I decided to give it a try and though I felt silly asking to order from the “hidden menu” the hostess was very kind and happy to help. I ordered a steak and egg bowl. It was delish! Warning: it looks and tastes great and your friends will want to know how you ordered it? 

  9. Jeff says:

    February 4th, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    I had one today and it was very good!! Although mine was different from the list. It had roast beef, lettuce, tomato, red onion, pesto, and a slice of lemon.

  10. shannyn says:

    February 5th, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    I travel for business weeky and Panera is my favortie dining option. By using the nutrition calculator I can subtract the bad items from the salads and still end up with a great meal. The steak bowl is very filling and quite tasty.

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