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Panera Just Announced Its 'Biggest Menu Transformation' Ever—Here's What's Changing

The ​​bakery-café chain is entering a whole new era starting in early April, with more than 20 new and improved menu items.
FACT CHECKED BY Justine Goodman

Panera Bread is about to enter a whole new era, thanks to what it describes as the "biggest menu transformation" in its nearly 40-year history.

The ​​bakery-café chain just announced that it will roll out a myriad of sweeping menu changes at restaurants nationwide on April 4. The transformed menu will include brand-new items, new-and-improved versions of old favorites, and "enhanced portions," according to a press release shared with Eat This, Not That! 

"We are getting back to Panera at its best with these menu updates that are centered completely on our guests and what they love about us," Alicia Mowder, Panera's senior vice president of Product Strategy & Insights, said in a statement. "We've listened to thousands of guests on our path to unveiling more than 20 new or enhanced menu items and are thrilled to bring these products to Panera bakery-cafés nationwide."

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Brand-New Panera Menu Items

Panera Bread Toasted Italiano & Balsamic Chicken Greens with Grains
Courtesy of Panera Bread

Nine total new menu items—including sandwiches, hearty salads, and a new spin on the classic Mac & Cheese—will debut in early April: 

  • Toasted Italiano: Black Forest ham, soppressata, provolone, romaine, red onion, sliced pepperoncini peppers, garlic aioli, and Greek dressing on Panera's toasted French Baguette.
  • Chicken Bacon Rancher: Grilled chicken, applewood smoked bacon, aged white cheddar, and ranch dressing on Black Pepper Focaccia.
  • Ciabatta Cheesesteak: tender sliced steak, provolone, garlic aioli, caramelized onions, and Peppadew peppers on Ciabatta.
  • Tomato Basil BLT: Applewood smoked bacon, crisp mixed greens, vine-ripened tomatoes, garlic aioli, salt, and pepper on Tomato Basil Miche bread.
  • Mediterranean Chicken Greens with Grains: Romaine and crisp mixed greens tossed in Greek Dressing and topped with a blend of farro and red rice, grilled chicken, hummus, feta, red onions, Peppadew peppers, sliced cucumbers, and a sprinkle of Panera's Mediterranean shawarma seasoning.
  • Southwest Chicken Ranch: A salad featuring romaine, grilled chicken, fresh avocado, grape tomatoes, fire-grilled corn, fresh cilantro, blue corn tortilla strips, ranch dressing, and chipotle aioli.
  • Balsamic Chicken Greens with Grains: Romaine and crisp mixed greens tossed in balsamic vinaigrette and topped with a blend of farro and red rice, sliced cucumbers, sliced pepperoncini peppers, fresh avocado, feta, pumpkin seeds, and a drizzle of Green Goddess dressing.
  • Ranch Cobb Salad: Romaine and crisp mixed greens with grape tomatoes, pickled red onions, applewood smoked bacon, feta, a hard-boiled egg, and ranch dressing.
  • Bacon Mac & Cheese: Tender shell pasta combined with a blend of rich cheeses, including Panera's tangy aged white cheddar sauce, and topped with applewood smoked bacon. 

Some new menu additions like the Tomato Basil BLT and Ranch Cobb Salad will have suggested prices under $10, increasing the number of lower-priced options at Panera. 

Revamped Panera Menu Items

Panera Bread new sandwiches
Courtesy of Panera Bread

On top of debuting brand-new items, Panera has also revamped 12 classic menu items with enhanced recipes "packed with even more delicious flavors that guests will love," the release said. The Bravo Club Sandwich, Chipotle Chicken Avocado Melt, and Fuji Apple Chicken Salad are among the 12 recipes that have been improved. Additionally, the chain also plans to include more chicken and steak on many of its salads and sandwiches.

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Customers will also see some existing options eliminated from the menu come April 3. A Panera representative confirmed to Eat This, Not That! that the chain plans to eliminate some menu categories, including its flatbread pizzas, so that it can refocus on its core offerings of soups, salad, sandwiches, and mac & cheese. The impending retirement of some menu items doesn't come as a complete surprise since Panera tested a smaller, streamlined menu at select locations over the summer of 2023.

Panera fans should stay tuned for more details on these upcoming menu changes since the chain plans to share additional updates throughout March. Members of the chain's MyPanera rewards program will also get "exclusive sneak peeks" ahead of the April launch, according to the release.

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"Panera's New Era is incredibly exciting, not only for our guests, but also our associates, who will be able to renew their focus on our core menu and serve our guests more efficiently with enhanced portions and better value," Debbie Roberts, Panera's chief operating officer, said in a statement. "We are eager to get back to our roots within these core categories and unveil these delicious new menu innovations, all while providing an exceptional guest experience."

Zoe Strozewski
Zoe Strozewski is a News Writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Read more about Zoe