Why Panera is Overrated

Panera has 2,161 locations across the United States since 1987.

Caitlin Rogers

Panera has 2,161 locations across the United States since 1987.

So often in high school, you talk to a person that loves Panera. They say how their mac and cheese is the best in the area and how they could never make their own grilled cheese as good as theirs. 

To me, the mac and cheese has an overly viscous sauce with overcooked noodles. You take one bite and you instantly get tired of the chemical taste. The cheese sticks to your mouth and leaves a filmy texture, making the whole experience even less enjoyable. You can get the mac and cheese for $9.09, compared to Noodles & Company’s mac and cheese being $5.89 for the regular size. The Noodles and Company mac and cheese is always creamy, always warm and makes you want to have more. With the price difference and the significantly better taste, why is Panera’s mac and cheese so popular? The answer is: it shouldn’t be.

Now for the star of the show: their grilled cheese. On multiple occasions, I’ve been disappointed by the overhyped grilled cheese at Panera. The name implies that cheese should be involved, but the majority of the sandwich is bread. The overcooked, crunchy bread cuts the top of your mouth as you eat it, while the sparse bits of cheese hint towards having flavor.

People still love Panera, even though their food is mediocre and overpriced. I’d much rather go to another restaurant where you get good, fresh food for the same or even lower price. So, if you’re in the mood for good mac and cheese, instead of going to Panera at the corner of the 29th Street mall, venture down half a mile to Noodles and Company. There, you’re sure to satisfy your craving.