Panera sells more than 3 million servings of mac and cheese every month (via Today), so while it"s nice to think that they"d be making it from scratch in every store, the truth is a lot more realistic. But some fans of the chain are still enraged to discover that their favorite cheesy pasta isn"t actually made fresh in-store.
You are watching: Grocery store panera mac and cheese
Like at many chain restaurants, Panera"s mac and cheese arrive at their stores pre-made and frozen. Workers then set the bag of mac and cheese in a simmering vat of water for 20 minutes, a process called "re-thermalizing," which basically just means they"re thawing it and heating it through so it"s ready to serve.
The chain says they"re justified in making their mac and cheese this way. Not only does it enable them to prepare and serve vast quantities of the stuff, but by making the mac and cheese offsite, it also means that Paneras around the country will be serving a consistent product that tastes the same at every location.
See more: Starbucks Barista Mistakes Actress Helen Hunt Jodie Foster Look Alike ?
Another reason the mac and cheese is shipped frozen is because the chain has removed all artificial preservatives from their menu. If the mac and cheese wasn"t frozen, it could spoil.
If you"re concerned about that re-thermalized mac and cheese sitting around at the restaurant and going bad, you needn"t worry — a Panera manager explained, "We sell a lot of mac and cheese, so we go through it pretty quickly." And any that"s leftover at the end of the day is disposed of.
Sure, it"s always a little disheartening to learn that what tastes like the cheesiest, coziest comfort food of all time is actually just made in a factory somewhere and dipped in hot water before serving, but if you"ve ever actually tasted Panera"s mac and cheese you know they"re doing something right.