Panera Faces Lawsuits, Layoffs

Panera Bread is dealing with an array of problems at the moment. 

First up is a proposed class-action lawsuit filed by a former employee over a data breach that exposed the personal information of potentially thousands of employees.

“Despite public statements that Panera maintains ‘reasonable physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards’ to protect data, the food chain didn’t take appropriate steps to safeguard employee data, including encrypting or redacting sensitive information, according to the complaint filed Monday in the US District Court for the Western District of Missouri,” according to Bloomberg Law



Panera employees submit a range of personally identifiable information to the food chain in the course of their employment, including their names and Social Security numbers.

"The plaintiff is asking that the court grant the request for a class action lawsuit, and award the class, 'applicable compensatory, exemplary, punitive damages, and statutory damages,' as a result of the damage caused by the data leak,” according to Nation’s Restaurant News

The company is continuing to deal with lawsuits over its “Charged Lemonade.” The latest is from an 18-year-old Pennsylvania high school student alleging the fast-food restaurant's drink -- now removed from the menu -- caused him to go into cardiac arrest, according to USA Today. 

Meanwhile, the fast-casual company announced its second manufacturing facility closure so far this year. The shuttering of a dough-making facility in Chandler, Arizona, will result in 64 layoffs, according to the Phoenix Business Journal. Earlier this year, Panera shuttered a facility in Houston that resulted in 84 layoffs.

The timing seems odd given that the company is undergoing its biggest menu overhaul in company history. 

“The chain introduced over 20 updates to core offerings under soups, salads, sandwiches, and mac and cheese, and launched enhanced flavors, larger protein portions, and lower price points, with items like the Tomato Basil BLT, Ranch Cobb Salad, and Mediterranean Greens with Grains all priced under $10,” according to QSR Magazine. "Classic items such as the Bravo Club Sandwich and Fuji Apple Chicken Salad received recipe improvements. Alicia Mowder, SVP of product strategy and insights, emphasized the updates are based on guest feedback to highlight what customers love about Panera.”

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