Dear XXXXX,

I’m very sorry to hear you disagree with our policy. Within our company, we strive to create Panera Warmth, which means, among other things, creating bakery-cafe environments where customers and associates feel comfortable. Panera Bread respects the rights of gun owners, but we do believe asking that customers not bring their firearms inside our bakery-cafes is consistent with the bakery-cafe environment we are attempting to create.

Thank you for taking the time to write to us and share your comments.

Sincerely,
Panera Bread

Make the jump for the reader’s letter that inspired the above . . .

Dear Panera,

I am disappointed that you have allowed yourself to be used by a fringe billionaire-funded interest group as part of a political stunt. What you need to understand is that opinions on armed self defense aren’t stratified by “right vs left” politics. Rather, the opinions are stratified by social class. The middle class on down values their right to armed self-defense because we live and work in places where it is necessary, because when bad things happen, they happen to us.

We don’t have the protection and isolation from the rest of society that the upper class has, and frankly, we’re on our own. Blue collar democrats strongly value their right to armed self-defense. Politically moderate social liberals value their right to self-defense. Most conservatives value their right to self-defense.

These political identities combined are the vast majority of America, and this is the real reason why the right to armed self-defense is upheld and expanding. It has nothing to do with interest groups, money, or marketing, it has everything to do with votes and popularity.

We are also your customer base. Why have you chosen to make a political statement against us? Unlike MDA, we are not out to take advantage of you for a political cause, so I’m not asking you to make a political statement in support of us, only that you remain respectfully agnostic and respect local laws and ordinances.”

DN

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220 Responses to Panera to Gun Owners: Sorry You Don’t Feel the Warmth

  1. Nice letter, DN! I think that the “no guns” policy is directed more to open carry. Never mind, I’m more of a CCW kind of guy anyways. Show ’em our rights!

    • With respect: “Show ’em our rights” by keeping ’em concealed? (To clarify, I’ve done my share of CC, when I carry that’s normally how I do it. )

    • Their non-policy policy is directed at one thing, getting MDA off their backs. The problem with shrugging it off is that once MDA gets bored with having more and more companies make a “request” not to bring guns, they will demand that they actually post their stores, and your concealed carry will be over at that point too.

      I know I tend to be a bit paranoid about the future, but the question is whether I am wrong. I hope we will figure out a way push back enough to never find out.

      • Change your laws at state level to where gun buster signs do not have “Force of Law”. It works fabulously here in Kentucky. Very, very few businesses bother posting here because it is meaningless. Even the big anti-gun chains like Buffalo Wild Wings don’t post here. All it would do is alienate people with a worthless sign.

        • Same here in FL. They can post all the signage they want, but it has no force of law. I Smirk everytime I enter any place I can legally with one of those “We don’t care about your rights” signs.

        • States voiding the rights of private property owners is not really a good answer either. I have never seen a hierarchy of rights.

        • In regards to FL law, its basically places where the public has access to. Also worth noting, that if the owner of the property or someone in an “Authoritive” position makes you out and asks you to leave, you must. Otherwise its criminal tresspass with a firearm. A Felony IIRC.

        • Paul G, it’s not about States voiding a company’s private property rights, its about keeping the field level so that the company must have a direct & personal conversation with ME about voiding MY rights before the “force of law” comes into play. If someone directly ASKS me to leave, of course I will respect that.

        • To Paul, businesses that serve the public (food for instance) are usually not allowed to discriminate based on race, gender, etc. To discriminate against people who choose to be prepared for self defense is in my eyes another group of people that do not deserve to be discriminated either.

          Obviously this is the point where laws reach opinion; where people will disagree if gun rights are tied to other civil rights. But Florida and Kentucky seem to think they are connected.

        • Neither should be subject to state mandates. You want your rights, why deny property owners of their rights in your quest.

        • As property owner it is your decision who or what you allow, the state restraining you in that regard is denying the owner’s rights. I guess it happens so often you just take it for granted…like needing permission to carry a concealed pistol.

        • In this instance Paul is right. The fact that businesses are forbidden to decide who to serve because of some criteria doesn’t justify us trying to force them to serve people who carry. For one thing, the “protected” criteria are mostly not a matter of personal choice, whereas carrying is a personal choice (it’s the only responsible choice, sure, but it’s still a choice) And in the second case, those laws you are using as precedent are wrong and should never have been passed. A business should be allowed to decide who they want to do business with, period. And if we are disgusted with their choice, it’s our right not to do business with them.

        • Ditto in Montana since 2009. Some businesses may not even post such signs or have “gun-free” policies. These include residential landlords and hoteliers. Yes, as property owners and businesses, they have rights, but all non-custodial human beings have the *fundamental* right to arm themselves as they see fit, and that trumps those. There is definitely a hierarchy of rights. There has to be.

        • The only hierarchy to rights is that my property, my rights first. You can have your rights…..over there, off my property.

        • There is no violation of property owners rights here. It is can still press a trespassing charge if I refuse to leave AFTER they make it known directly to me that they wish to violate my civil rights on their property. They simply cannot dismiss my civil rights with a mere sign.

      • @Paul G — States shouldn’t void propery owners’ rights, but which of those rights should be enforced for the owners by the State using its police powers? A movie theater can ask you not to bring outside food and drink, they can perhaps search your bag for the “contraband”, but is there any State where you will be arrested for a cookie in your purse once it is found?

        So, let the stores that want to install and operate their own metal detectors.

        • Who said you would be arrested for a cookie, or a firearm? You keep trying to move the goalposts to justify…that is bull and you know it. It is typically trespassing is you refuse to leave, which can result in an arrest, especially if you are armed. People have been arrested unarmed for trespassing, no doubt.

        • @ Paul G.

          No one is violating the property owners rights. No one. Get a grip and learn how to debate.
          The property owner can say “hey, you have a gun, leave now” and then you have to, or you will be a trespasser, and the force of law will come into play. The property owner still has full rights.

          It’s no different than a business putting up a sign that says “all customers must keep eyes crossed at all times while shopping”. They have the right to ask you to leave if you aren’t following their policies, but the force of law only comes into play when you refuse to leave.

          It’s not that hard to understand.
          All that signs not having the force of law means is that the force of law does not come into play simply for stepping over the threshold of the business while armed. Signs not having the force of law DOES NOT mean that you cannot be asked to leave the business. If you are asked to leave and do not, then you are a trespasser, and subject to the force of law!

        • Asking the government to suppress property rights in the interest of gun rights is 100% statism. You cannot claim to love liberty without respecting property rights.

          Shouldn’t it be more about mutual freedom? My freedom to operate a business on my property as I see fit and your freedom to protect yourself as you see fit (and where not in conflict with a property owner’s rights).

          No one is forcing the OCer or CCer into Panera or onto anyone else’s private property.

        • @ Paul G: There are states where the no guns signs on the door of a business don’t have the “force of law” and there are states where they do. What do you think it means in the states where they do? It means it is a criminal offense to ignore them. Many states are like that. No moving goalposts, that’s the law in many states today.

        • Its okay to steal a bagel and a cup of coffee then, as long as you don’t get caught? They should have had better security measures in place to safeguard their food? Stealing is the same as using their services against their terms.

        • Stealing and carrying a gun where there’s a no-guns sign are not morally the same, and it is worth noting that while stealing is against the law absolutely everywhere, the no-guns signs have the force of law in some states, but not all. A law-abiding customer carrying a well-concealed handgun does not affect their livelihood or the atmosphere in their store in any way. I only wish I lived in a state where the no-guns signs had no force of law.

          I consider bringing outside food and snacks to a movie theater considerably more dubious morally, since it affects the establishment’s income. This is why it is something I would not do.

        • You are rationalizing your actions despite them being against the will of the store you are visiting. I, too, think it’s silly for them to ban guns, but it’s their property, not mine. When a store has signs up that say “No guns” and you go onto the property, you are there against the terms of the owner. The states with laws declaring signs to have no force of law are hampering the private property rights of the owners, essentially saying “cheating is only wrong if you get caught”.

        • “essentially saying “cheating is only wrong if you get caught”.”

          Yes. That is the moral position of government in EVERYTHING.

        • I live in state where the no-guns signs do have the force of law, so I am not rationalizing my actions, but merely stating my views. Clarifying my views in more detail, even if my state didn’t criminalize disobeying the no-guns signs, I would still follow the sign in case of a small business, but I would certainly ignore it in a place like a large shopping mall, especially after the Supreme Court ruled that states can even condemn private property for large-scale private projects of that type when they have “public benefits”, or however they put it.

          I understand where you are coming from, but I just don’t have the degree of reverence you have for some of the stupid rules the often out-of-state shopping mall owners may feel like imposing.

          And the recent events like Target, Starbucks, and Panera are in a separate category altogether. When the company states loud and clear that “it is a request, which, however, we absolutely won’t enforce”, it’s pretty much an open invitation/permission to carry discretely. Boycotting them (or not) would be merely a political decision then, not because they actually don’t want you to conceal-carry there.

        • My reverence is for private property rights and the right of property owners to make rules as they see fit, not a reverence for any specific rule they happen to make. Feel free to break their rules, but you are stating that the property owner should have no recourse if it you are discovered to be breaking the clearly-stated terms of use.

        • Their recourse is to ask you to leave, which you must obey unless you want to be charged with trespassing. I don’t see the need for anything more for minor infractions – not everything should be grounds for arrest.

        • Those businesses are open to the public, and therefore not entirely private property. Your home is private property, and you have that control there. They request and are granted a business license. That license requires them to respect the rights of all individuals who patronize their business. If it is a private club such as Sams/Costco where you have to sign a membership agreement, then they can prohibit whatever they want because of their membership acceptance.

      • they will demand that they actually post their stores, and your concealed carry will be over at that point too

        Meh. Concealed mean concealed. CCW is over when the store has a metal detector and an armed guard.

        • Funny, a criminal will merrily violate his property rights, no matter what signage he posts, and yet WE are the bad people for ignoring his attempt to violate our God given and Constitutionally guaranteed right to be at all times armed. Just, wow.

    • OMG, YES.

      From now on, that’s exactly what I’ll offer to do first, before handing them the no guns = no money card.

    • Exactly! So let me get this straight Panera. You take away my 2nd Amendment right. Which Amendment is next? 1st or 14th? Imagine if they hung up a sign that said ‘No Negros, Irish or Jews’. I only used ‘Negros’ for historical context before someone starts objecting and requesting ‘comment moderated’.

      • Actually the polite way to refer to “those people” back in the days of Jim Crow was coloreds as in the sign that my father saw in many establishments in Columbus George in early 1942 when he reported for airborne training at Fort Benning: No Dogs, Coloreds or Soldiers allowed.”:

      • So you allow armed strangers to come in and hang out in your house? Or do you deny them their 2nd amendment rights, too?

        Panera is private property. It’s their call to make and it has nothing to do with constitutionality. And yes, if they wanted, they should be allowed to indulge their bigotry and bar minorities from their property, too, if they so chose. It’s abhorrent, but likewise not a legitimate matter of constitutionality.

        • But the other issues do have laws against them, constitutional or not. Pointing out the dichotomy is certainly appropriate.

        • Yes, they should be able deny people the right to carry but given the civil rights acts and recent court rulings on gay rights over things like wedding cakes and venues and photos, they really don’t have that private property right. Especially as a public business.

          If gay rights are so important, how is self defense not?

        • Whever I see a “no guns” sign, I send the company a letter assuring them that I will respect their property rights by staying off their property, and that I will instead patronize their competitors who respect my right to armed self-defense.

          Seems simple enough.

        • Paul G:
          Pointing it out is appropriate. Screaming it into the sky for everyone to hear is appropriate. Taking your business elsewhere is appropriate.

          But Panera is well within its rights to ask you to leave for any non-discriminatory reason.

        • I agree, but you should really include discriminatory reasons as well. Race, religion, armed or not, too tall, too fat, all are discriminatory reasons.

        • Jonathan-Houston,
          I think you’ve missed an important point. Armed or not, I don’t allow complete strangers to come hang out in my house. Companies like Panera not only allow it, they encourage it, they would go out of business if it didn’t happen. There’s a big difference between private property that is not open to the public and PP that is.

        • @Soccer
          Bottom line is, Panera is a private business and THEY and only they should be able to decide whom they want or do not want to serve. Of course these days the government gets involved and screams discrimination this or that, even though they should not get involved at all.

          If Panera wants to put up a sign that says “No people who wear glasses allowed” then by all means, let them. They should not be prohibited from doing so, just as they should not be prohibited from asking gun owners to leave their sidearms at home if they want to shop there. We all disagree with that policy, but we discriminate against business all the time, mostly based on their prices, but on other factors as well. They should be able to discriminate as well, I have no problem with that. Of course, if they choose to discriminate, many members of the public will speak out against them and/or shop elsewhere. Which is how this sort of situation should be handled.

          You don’t have a right to shop there or at any other establishment. Panera is not obligated to sell you anything, they can refuse service for any reason they wish. But if they do, they have to accept that they will lose customers and could be ostracized by society, driving people away from their business, thus losing revenue and possible going out of business. That’s the risk they’re taking and they have to accept the consequences. The simple solution is to write them expressing your displeasure and to take your business elsewhere. If enough people do this, they’ll change their policy.

        • “Bottom line is, Panera is a private business and THEY and only they should be able to decide whom they want or do not want to serve.”

          And yet! Federal laws strip them of that right, as do multitudinous state level laws. Hmmmmm.

        • @Jonathan – Houston

          Taking your argument to its logical extant, landlords can prohibit individuals from possessing firearms and gun hating areas can effectively ban firearms by prohibiting carry on their private property.

        • Extent, not extant. And yes, landlords can do that, provided it’s declared beforehand and written in the lease. What they can’t do is come along during your lease and change the rules. Domiciles have a special place in the law that way.

        • Yes, bureaucrats in HUD have already tried that little stunt, under the aegis of the “war on drugs”. And been shut down by the courts at federal, state and municipal level, repeatedly. And yet they trot that corpse out and flail away at it every few years. Leftards are mentally retarded. And persistent in pushing their anti-human sh*t.

  2. This has an easy solution. Get a sandwich somewhere else. If my guns are too good for you, so is my money. I think I will just buy my sandwich fixings from Kroger instead… 🙂

    • That’s what I do. Although, I wrote my local Kroger division through their comment website last week and haven’t heard from them despite their promise of a response within 24 hours.

      • I got a response from Kroger in just over a day (Aug 18 –> 20):

        Thank you for contacting Kroger Customer Connect regarding our firearms policy. The safety of our customers and associates is one of our most important company values. Millions of customers are present in our busy grocery stores every day and we don’t want to put our associates in a position of having to confront a customer who is legally carrying a gun. That is why our long-standing policy on this issue is to follow state and local laws and to ask customers to be respectful of others while shopping. We know that our customers are passionate on both sides of this issue and we trust them to be responsible in our stores.

        We value your feedback and will ensure it reaches our Leadership Team.

        Thank you for shopping with the Kroger Family of Stores.

        Sincerely,

        David
        Kroger Customer Connect
        The Kroger Family of Stores

        • So Kroger requests/expects us to act like reasonable and polite human beings. I thought everyone tried to do that, regardless of their pistol-packin’ status. I know I try to.

        • This is just peculiar. They went out of their way to point out they don’t want their employees to find themselves “confront”ing an armed citizen. Why did they bother to put that in? It would seem to justify the opposite measure to the one they actually are taking, at least by liberal logic, and I expect some anti- will jump on it and point out an “inconsistency.” I suspect they will ultimately cave.

        • Confronting could also imply asking a legally armed person to leave. The letter makes clear they will follow local laws, and wish to remain non-confrontational.

        • Really? Making an official statement, in public, with members of the press in attendance, and placing video of same in an open public forum, youtube, is not a public statement. Again, okey dokey.

        • Maybe you missed the source of that statement? Jason Kay wrote:
          I got a response from Kroger in just over a day (Aug 18 –> 20):

          Thank you for contacting Kroger Customer Connect regarding our firearms policy. The safety of our customers and associates is one of our most important company values. Millions of customers are present in our busy grocery stores every day and we don’t want to put our associates in a position of having to confront a customer who is legally carrying a gun. That is why our long-standing policy on this issue is to follow state and local laws and to ask customers to be respectful of others while shopping. We know that our customers are passionate on both sides of this issue and we trust them to be responsible in our stores.

          We value your feedback and will ensure it reaches our Leadership Team.

          Thank you for shopping with the Kroger Family of Stores.

          Sincerely,

          David
          Kroger Customer Connect
          The Kroger Family of Stores

          So when exactly did this private email get announced on television or in public, besides being shown here? “Okey-dokey”?

        • I thought the point was Ron Shaich did not make a public statement, sorry. And I got the same response from Kroger. Wish there was one close enough to us to shop at.

        • @Paul,

          Taken that way, it makes more sense. But now there’s an implication that they are afraid the armed customer might lose his temper and shoot the employee. Or in other words, they won’t do a “no guns” policy because the people carrying the guns are physically intimidating because they have a gun.

          I find it less puzzling and also less reassuring, if I read it the way you suggest.

        • I don’t see that at all. I see that they do not want to put the employee in the position of having to confront a legally armed person….because such confrontation could be very uncomfortable for the employee. Thus, if the locality allows carry, no need to do anything, if they do not, it is automatically a police issue. They give the benefit of the doubt where it applies.

        • They’re simply saying that enforcement of a nonexistent law is not the job of anyone who works for Kroger, and they are not going to do it. I thought it was pretty clear and completely agreeable to me. Everyone who writes about firearms gets the same form letter, I like that too! It explains why they are NOT going to ban guns in their stores.

        • I’d have to agree with guys. It may not be completely unpalatable, but Panera just isn’t very good. I’ve only been three times (once on my own, once with a few friends, and once with some coworkers), but they were at three different locations in two different cities. I guess that’s representative.

          Their fru-fru fast food isn’t bad, pet se, just bland and obvious. I really don’t get the appeal, certainly not enough to sustain a national chain.

  3. I will continue to patronize Panera with my concealed weapon. I like their food. As long as they don’t post the Texas legal sign I will continue to eat there.

  4. Takes them a good 20 minutes to prepare 2 meals… Needless to say I don’t eat there often. This is just the nail in the coffin.

    • Add eating and travel time, and it’s not worth it for the average Joe or Jane. I stopped going to Panera’s many years ago.

    • Here in Texas, Panera competes with the little Mom and Pop Taco restaurant around the corner. Chorizo and egg tacos with homemade flour tortillas beats Panera every time and for about half the money. They’ve never heard of Shannon and the Moms.

  5. dont hound them – they are playing the starbucks and target card. fine, give the moms security theater.

    (ask panera if they would allow defensive weapons only.. hmm)

    • Uh, no. They are offering up this “policy” on their own. Maybe MDA is involved; maybe not. It’s not so clear cut.

      Panera seems to be an outlier. They are NOT in the same pattern.

  6. Um maybe because we do not go off of emotions and feelings. Gun owners and second amendment supporters go off of facts and numbers.

  7. Why is a bald millionaire reading a prepared script in a public place? And just how many homeless and vagrants did his PR people round up to applaud him? And why? For the promise of free food and coffee? Not in any Panera store I can think of. I also seriously doubt that he still lives “…in Brookline – just up the Green Line from here.”

    Bah! What a humbug! He’s not fooling anyone. He played the wishy-washy Starbucks card, now he should own the consequences.

  8. Its his business. And my wallet.
    Funny, I passed a Panera right by yesterday, and got a coffee next door.
    Too chi-chi ostentatious anyway.

  9. What are the fundamentals?

    The CEO is not some well tested, long term money maker, really. The restaurant has existed about 30 years and they serve 8 million customers per week. Compare that to McDonald’s: 476 million customers per week. Dunkin Donuts: 18.9 million customers per week. Subway? My estimate is about 95 million customers per week.

    So, Panera’s 8 mil per week is NOTHING. Why the $155 per share stock price? Where’s the revenue in the company to support that?

    Check this out: Market Capitalization is 4.23 BILLION dollars. If we assume each customer spends $10 (baseline price for Panera menu offerings) and extrapolate 8 mil customers per week, that comes out to be 4.1 billion in GROSS SALES. Their annual gross sales does not even equal their Market Cap. Where the hell are the “earnings” coming from?

    Also, we see a P/E Ratio of 22.91 (as reported by Yahoo a couple days ago).

    So, basically, Panera is a joke supported by shareholder investment. Too bad they are in-process of building one in my town. Grr.

      • “Here’s the current 10-K, quit guessing or imagining. “

        Not sure what you think I am “imagining.”

        From their own “about the directors” web page:

        https://www.panerabread.com/en-us/company/about-panera/board-of-directors.html

        That’s a TINY number of customers compared to other businesses in their sector.

        “As far as the classical metrics go, anything selling with a P/E beyond 8 is overpriced”

        Which was exactly my point…their stock is overpriced. So, thanks for making my point for me and doing so in a way that makes you sound like somehow I was wrong and you are introducing the point.

        • Thanks, I know who’s on their BOD, I live in STL.

          What are you ‘guessing or imagining’? Everything in your post where you postulate sales figures and traffic numbers rather than just simply looking up the 10K and quoting the actual figures….

          There’s many national/regional chains in the $750MM to $1.5B segment, so what? Just because they aren’t McD’s they are somehow inherently ‘broken’ or a failure? It’s a segment, just like all business. They aren’t Booger Kang, and neither is CPK. Once again, so what? How is that germane?

          As to “making your point for you” I simply pointed out that the majority of the DJIA has a PE north of 20, as does the majority of the DJI, S&P (high 19s), and the rest of the indices. The whole con is in Roaring 20s Fantasyland mode, just wait till it pops again and the deriviatives come due. If you think the last crash was bad, the current bubble is even bigger. If you’re looking for an outlier that chumps are funding, try Tesla at a PE of 260-something…

        • “What are you ‘guessing or imagining’? Everything in your post where you postulate sales figures and traffic numbers rather than just simply looking up the 10K and quoting the actual figures….”

          Now, come on.

          I did not “imagine” one single thing. I even gave you the stinking link where they quoted the traffic from their own web site.

          THEN…I go look up their sales figures for Q2 2014 and lo and behold…right in line with my rough estimate, and certainly smaller than their Market Cap.

          Soooooooo, I’m not sure what expertise you think you are bringing to this discussion, because you have not challenged a single point I’ve made. All you’ve done is accuse me of “imagining” data that I did not, in fact, imagine at all.

          Really; get over yourself. The point was that in my opinion the company sucks and the stock is overpriced. As I said, if you disagree with that, it’s your nickel. I don’ t give a sh&t.

          Have a nice day rubbing elbows with the Panera BOD. I’m sure they are a laugh a minute and fully support your carrying firearms in their stores. Oh wait….

      • So what? Does that change my statement that Panera is overpriced. Gee, the average of another 30 handpicked stocks have highish P/E, so that means this company is fundamentally strong? Nope.

        General stock search for the overall market on P/E between 20 and 100 gives about 1/4 of the market. Less than 1/8 the market if we narrow to P/E’s 20-25. So what your point? That you can pick 30 stocks with one similar parameter is more meaningful than the 7000 I can pick that don’t have that parameter?

        I read the financial reports (which are roughly consistent with the gross sales numbers I mentioned above) and don’t see a company I want to invest in.

        If you see it differently – it’s your money. Invest away. Won’t bother me a bit.

        • I have no idea what ill-informed fantasyland you’re getting your numbers from. Probably the one that funded GM, back in the $100B-in-the-hole days.

          As of 12 Sept 2014 the current PEs for various mainstream boards are…

          Russel 2000 – 81.52
          Nasdaq 100 – 23.75
          S&P 500 -19.25

          Schiller will tell you the same thing I will, the market is really worth about 8000 DJIA half of 16K. Everything past that is just funny-money from QE, which will have to end someday before the US starts issuing Zimbabwe Dollars.

          http://online.wsj.com/mdc/public/page/2_3021-peyield.html

        • “I have no idea what ill-informed fantasyland you’re getting your numbers from. “

          Good God Almighty, it’s called a Stock Screen using one of these magical things called a computer. I screened stocks by P/E and got some numbers.

          Stop with this ‘fantasyland’ schtick. You are embarrassing yourself.

          I have not made up anything. It’s all data you can easily verify. EASILY check.

          Like I said: if you want a financial love fest with Panera, have at it. I don’t give a rat’s backside.

  10. As far as I am concerned, I have stopped using any of Panera’s products, Yes I boycott them, Just like companies in non gun supporting States. i.e. CA, both of my kids were born there and refuse to return as I do. CT, NY etc. The citizen’s voted the pols in, they can live with the repercussions, both internal and external (me cancelling any business I do with them.)

    This is one time you don’t get away with buttering both sides of the slice of bread!

    • You need to get your facts straight because we the people of Ct. , NY ,NJ or Ma. Have had nothing to do or able to do with the gun laws that were pushed through and imposed on us. The fact is that every responsibly armed citizen should write email or letter to the leaders of the corporations or state government voicing our collective displeasure on these subjects. As for me I received the same response that you read from Panera it the point the more they hear that they are losing money due to policy they will change it back. Target and Starbucks need to hear from you also and stand by it. Nothing gets to these big corporations more than getting a flood of letters or emails of customers complaining about something in their stores they will change it very quickly. It only takes a few min. To send corporate an email. Just do it and avoid giving them your hard earned money because the group behind this is backed with lots of free money. See they get money from Mr. Bloomberg

      • It was the voting, and for that matter, non-voting citizens of those states that put the legislators into the positions where they could enact those laws, and in most cases, have done nothing to remove them. They are ultimately responsible

  11. Do you know how I know that Panera (St. Louis Bread Company) will be out of business in a few years? My wife was the one that came to me and suggested that we stop eating there. Panera has no idea what they’ve done.

    • A lot of ‘truth’ here.

      They brag about serving 8 million per week. That’s pretty pitiful in the fast food world.

      Alienating their “target” demographic is even worse.

      • It’s a segment, just like Chili’s, White Castle, Culvers, Friday’s, or any of a few dozen other companies.

        Comparing them to McDs, BK, TB or such ilk is an apples v. pineapple grenades comparison. It holds no water.

        • They are not in the same segment as Chilis…they are fast freaking food and to call Paneras anything else is disingenuous at best.

          McDonald’s mentioned to give a ‘baseline’ for what a real market setting company does in raw sales per week, not to compare directly.

          Of the ones I mentioned above, the closest segment example is Subway. And Subway stomps Panera in terms customer volume.

          Point is, and here it is in very simply terms…Panera is NOT a market leader.

          I know you’ll disagree because you know someone on the board and as such, Panera must be the greatest thing since bread was invented.

  12. As a person from Central Europe, I can authoritatively declare that “Panera Bread” is an oxymoron.

    Overwrought crap is more like it.

    I tried it twice or thrice while in the Midwest.

    Underwhelmed and unimpressed.

        • She an only child. She came up with the phrase after her first time eating there. She doesn’t like bread in the states because it’s too sweet.

        • Oop, there it is. I have eaten bread from all the h#ll over, bread in America is sweet. Love me some nan. All I gots to sayz.

        • A shame about the only child part.

          I understand that in general Europeans think our bread here is crap. You’ll see statements like “every country has its own unique and flavorful bread–except the United States.” I got a good laugh out of someone visiting from Germany by referring to our bread as “Wunderbrot”–a sarcastic play on “Wonder Bread” which has to be near the bottom of even our bread hierarchy.

  13. Well, Starbucks, Target, and now Panera are on the list of places we will no longer spend money. Vote with your dollars, it’s about all you can do.

    • I had never been in a starbucks until the flap started. When they stood firm I made a point of taking my grandkids to starbucks for juice and hot chocolate. Regularly. When they caved I stopped. As for Paneras, I’ve never been. Don’t guess I’ll go now.

      • Think I’ve been to Panera once.

        Was underwhelmed. Left hungry because their overpriced crap sandwich was “not much there” and I was not about to spend more $$ on liberal yuppie sh&t disguised as food.

        I think my family agreed with my assessment.

        Panera can toss off. The world would feel no loss at all.

        • Beef, rare. Pork, well done. Steamed cauliflower, broccoli and brussel sprouts well seasoned and buttery. Baked taters. And don’t forget the sm’orcs, smores with a good dose of cheyenne pepper powder! All these make my conservative taste buds happy.

          Oh, and crawfish, lots and lots of mudbugs..

        • Unseasoned and plain? Yep, eveil leftist plot! With butter and salt and Tobasco? Happy conservative eating. Got to do all 3 together to really make their heads ‘splode.

        • Butter, salt and tabasco on poison… is still poison. That nasty horrid taste still comes through.

        • “I’m fascinated by your describing food, any food, as liberal. “

          🙂

          Okay, you got me. Fired off in a rush without thinking grammar.

          Call it the overall “experience” of Panera being what I was referring to … the so-called “Panera Warmth” and disguising that as “food” is what I meant. The notion that they can sell the idea of a “food experience” in place of quality food itself, alone-ish. Call it the attempt at marketing as something other than fast food when it is, in fact, fast food.

          I left out a few steps in my thought process to get from Point A to Point B.

        • Broccoli is awesome. Toss in olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. Oven roast to get a bit of caramelization on the broccoli and garlic. Delicious. Works really well with cauliflower, and root vegetables too.

  14. I got the same Bravio Sierra form reply from them myself.

    @JR_in_NC, given that these people are sticking by their guns (so to speak) more than Target/Starbucks/Chipotle is doing, is this closer to a “ban” than the others are?

    Yes, I realize this has very little, if anything to do with open carry protests–unless it can be shown that somehow MDA played a “look do you want THIS in your restaurants” card, which wouldn’t surprise me, but there’s zero positive evidence for it. My question is focused on the nature of the anti-gunniness. does this rise to the level of a policy?

    • Dude, we REALLY need to try to meet up when I am out there in Oct.

      Yeah, this is getting to “policy.” He’s responding and sticking to his, uh, guns.

      BUT..BUT…I will still say that until he instructs his stores to put signs in the windows it is for the most part empty hot air. Has he done that yet? (I don’t know). I’m still a bit PO’d that they are even building a store here…not open yet, but it will be.

      No doubt..this one is different than some of the others. It is, I believe, instructive to emphasize that this came out not from a response to anything but seems to be Panera pre-emptively announcing his sh&t in the absence of any pressure.

      An academic difference? Perhaps so.

      Picking nits, perhaps. Don’t deny that it could be seen that way. But…this is one is very, very different from Target and Chipotle.

        • November will work a hell of a lot better than October, for me. And yes a certain restaurant in Rifle that bears NO policy resemblance to Panera would be a good locale even if it’s a bit out of my way.

          It is a bit different from the situations where a store that got visited by open carriers later says please don’t bring any guns in. (An implied causality, and I know we don’t agree on whether it’s real–but the mere implication is enough to make my present point whether or not it’s real.) It’s quite a bit more alarming in fact. Because now a place has done this before any such incident could even happen.

          The backstory I’m hearing about this which may or may not have any substance to it is that they did get together with MDA and consult on the crafting of the quasi-policy. This could mean anything from nothing at all (because it’s a lie) to preemptively caving to MDA because MDA told them privately “Do this now or we raise a public stink.” That latter would be very, very bad news, as it would represent a quantum jump in their power to influence our society where they don’t even have to actually put any work into making some company a media sensation; they can just threaten to do so and a nationally known (even if fairly small) chain will cave. (This is the same kind of thing Al Sharpton/Jesse Jackson do to shake down businesses for contributions.)

          Of course a lot of what power is is being perceived to have the power. MDA would probably like other companies to believe that Panera pre-emptively wrote the policy to avoid ever being a target of MDA’s wrath. If the leadership of Panera was inclined this way in the first place, they both “win” (and we lose) because Panera gets what it secretly wanted all along, and they get to help another group pushing the same agenda seem more powerful and just by that, make that group’s job easier.

          I know a lot of people here think MDA is failing. I’d love to agree with that, but I can’t, since this could be a sign that they are becoming far more powerful, not because they have vast armies of supporters and members (they don’t) but because they may well be doing a fantastic job leveraging what they do have. Unfortunately, to LOOK powerful is to BE powerful, and MDA certainly does LOOK powerful right about now.

        • Very well said. In most things today the appearance is the fact, irregardless of reality. THAT is a weapon the political left is quite adept at wielding.

        • Yeah, Steve, I agree, too. You hit a lot of very important points.

          I think MDA is failing / a failure, but they do still have teeth. The reason they have teeth is because the place they put their effort is creating the lie they have teeth…if that makes sense at all.

          Kinda like “tell the lie enough and people will believe it.” They have been mostly ineffective in directly influencing legislatures, so they switched tactics. Arguably, we have them the new tactic.

          My sense of the Panera dude is that he is a staunch anti-gunner and sought out this opportunity to create some publicity while winning points with “like minded” potential customers. That’s just a guess; I really don’t know.

          But whatever is the story behind this…you are right on. MDA still merits actively fighting. We win here, we lose there, and we might … MIGHT … win more than we lose, but – they are still in the fight. And they are well funded. And they expend great effort to control even the language of the fight.

          We ignore them at our peril, and that is something I and others repeat every time one of those “do we still have to hear about them…they are irrelevant” posts comes up.

  15. … and the horse you rode in on. When i go into a Panera business (in St Louis they go by St Louis Bread Company), which isn’t very often, I go packed..The first rule of concealed carry is “it’s concealed,” so they’ll never know I have it until I need it to save the lives of their unarmed sheep, I mean, customers.

  16. The Libs are big into the small business “localvore” movement. It’s funny how small business is much more gun friendly than the chains are. The ultimate irony is that the Libs seeking safety will be patronizing the hated big box and plastic food chains while the gun owners of any political persuasion will be supporting small business.

  17. I am also not a big panera fan. Although in alabama no gun signs don’t have the force of law, (or at least that is what I was told) so conceal carry is legal pretty much anywhere except schools.

      • After I got done at the range today, instead of going to Panera for my favorite after range drink, I went and got another coffee from my local coffee shop. I really like them anyway so I’ll keep doing it.

  18. I’m interested to know how this affects the “franchise” paneras. The ones locally are owned as a franchise, and while I don’t know if they are pro-gun, I’m pretty sure they’re not anti-gun. I know at least one manager there loves his ARs.

      • Yes, JJ’s makes good food, as opposed to Shaich’s bland and over priced,,,,,well, I guess we got to call it”food” since no health dept has seen fit to label it as something else. Yet.

  19. I carried in there earlier tonight. I will continue to carry wherever I please within the limits of the law until I am asked to leave by management or they place a sign up saying “No Firearms”.

    It’s funny. I carried in there tonight and there was no outburst, no firefights, no violence, nothing but the overpriced food. So where’s this bloodbath I keep hearing of that the Anti’s are so adamant about?

  20. Mediocre toker. As mentioned Panera is no big deal. Overpriced & VERY slow service. Yep my local Mexican place is way better & half the price. Take your business to companies that support your right.

  21. They haven’t lost me as a customer, over guns.
    Ill take mine with me anyplace thanks.
    Their food did.
    Chicken salad with raisins and pieces of apple in it……………..NO THANKS.

    • I wasn’t happy when they dropped their steak salad from the menu. I really like it. They said it’s probably not coming back, well I’m not coming back either.

  22. I really don’t understand why all businesses don’t just say “Dear everyone, please obey all local laws and we’ll gladly take your money.”

  23. Sound like a jerk I may but Panera is one of those places I feel is primarily targeted towards women, and pajama boy types. Like Jamba Juice, and yes Starbucks. Don’t know about the Juice but I sense that’s why these other company’s are so willing to pledge allegiance to Shannon and Bloomie. I don’t set foot in any of those places, but it is annoying to see private businesses capitulate to a bunch of histrionic whiners.

    • No, sound like Yoda you may… I like Jamba Juice and Starbucks!… But yes, I like my rights more and stop going to stores that take a political stance that oppose mine.

  24. There’s a Panera about 2 miles from my home. I’d boycott them, except I haven’t been there in probably 12 years anyway. Still, if they’d told MDA where to shove it I’d make a special point to give them another try.

  25. So, if self-defense is banned at their establishment, should that not make them legally responsible for your safety. If I get murdered in their facility because I was required to leave my firearm in the car and their employees were with I capable or unwilling to protect me, shouldn’t my wife receive compensation. I think yes.

    • Except it’s not a place where people are required to be, like a school, so they aren’t responsible for your safety.
      Oh wait…

  26. Sorry you don’t get our Sunday afternoon visit.

    The $70.00+ can go to someone else who has the sense to shut up about politics and serve food.

  27. Ron has nothing to worry about from me. My shadow has never darkened the door of his jetset greasy spoon before, and never will.

  28. Great letter DN. Pound for pound Panera charges more for chicken salad than I pay for ribeye. I’ll stick with restaurants that focus on food and value rather than politics.

  29. Ignoring or CCing in these businesses will not work. Quietly patronizing businesses who cave in to MDA, even if it’s not an outright gun ban (as none of the MDA “victories” are) is not “showing them” in any way. The only way we can convince these wayward souls that listening to MDA is the wrong choice is to be vocal about it: write them emails, start twitter campaigns (as dumb as those are) — tell them that they will lose a lot more money by capitulating, even by issuing weak requests, than by staying neutral. Then, follow through; take pictures of yourself shopping at competitors and post them to the company’s Twitter and Facebook and e-mail. It sounds stupid, but in this day and age, it will be effective.
    Kroger hasn’t caved yet and it doesn’t look like they will. Send them e-mails telling them what we all know to be true: ignore Shannon and her band of screeching harpies and they will quietly go away. We’re not looking for companies to issue, “2A! F*ck yeah!” statements, just for them to not worry about it.

    • +1000.

      I managed to restrain myself from replying as I wanted to, to all those here who said they’d continue to go. Hope they feel smug handing an anti-gun corporation their money for overpriced crap. Thanks for the no-help, guys.

  30. Happiness is a warm gun.

    I don’t know about the rest of the country, but in Panera’s home base of St. Louis, they are some of the best cafes around. They’re the reason why the St. Louis area is NOT cluttered with Starbucks shops, which are much inferior. Yeah, you can find Starbucks around here, but you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a Panera. This is really too bad. = (

    • I went shooting yesterday with someone who referred to it as “ballistic therapy”

      Hmm, by analogy with places that ban pets unless they are service animals, presumably including ones that have some psychotherapeutic value, does that mean he gets to carry in posted areas on the grounds that the firearm is a “service firearm”?

        • “Attitude adjustment”. When I get grumpy the wife does more than suggest I go shooting. Best part is now she has tried it and understands the therapeutic value of a day at the range. Bad part…..my ammo disappears much faster.

  31. Good to know the consensus here matches mine. I ate at Panera Bread a couple of times years ago and concluded it was overpriced, skimpily-portioned cr*p. Have never eaten there since and never will gain. Hope they go under because the space they occupy in the Malls is wasted. The only “Warmth” I experienced there was my face flushing when I realized how much I paid for what I got and how bland and unedible it was.

  32. Nothing like not addressing the letter. Well, Panera was forgettable before this latest fold. I’ll take my business elsewhere.

  33. All I have to say is that its their right as a company to refuse service to anyone. Yeah I know its stupid and it should NOT be allowed to happen like that but all we have to do is not eat there, lets be honest their food sucks anyway. You guys can do what you want I’ll just write them off as idiots and refuse to eat at any of their establishments.

  34. Do any of the above people read and comprehend what the president of panera actually said ??
    H said ” please do not being your guns into the store”
    I am in St.louis, the home of Panera aka St.Louis bread Co.
    They have not “banned” guns in their stores, they have not posted “No Guns Allowed” signs.
    You can still carry concealed in their stores, and they do not care. Just because a business owner does not want you to enter his business with an AR or AK on your shoulder does NOT make that business Anti Gun.
    I can not believe all the ignorant remarks made about this.
    rick w.
    NRA Member/ gun owner

    • It is you who are ignorant. “Pleas do not bring your guns into our store” doesn’t limit itself to open carry. It says “guns” not “openly carried guns.” It can’t possibly even be limited by context to OC guns, because this time, this is NOT in response to open carry “incidents.”

  35. Panera’s stance is pretty painless for them now, but when/if open carry comes to Texas, they will really have to decide and make their true policy preference public. CC allows them to somewhat straddle the fence… As Bart Scott would say, “CAN’T WAIT!!!”

  36. Here is my e-mail to Panera:
    It is my understanding that customers carrying a legally concealed firearm into your business are not welcome. Somehow other people who have no idea someone is carrying a concealed firearm into your business would not feel the Panera “warmth”. Well being a LEO, and required by the head of my agency to carry an off-duty firearm at All times. What is your policy if I want to enter your business off-duty and armed? Well do not fret because I will never enter one of your businesses again unless it is for an official reason, while engaging in an investigation. So, you will never feel the “warmth” of my money entering your cash register again.

  37. AGAIN CAN YOU PEOPLE NOT READ. or HEAR!!
    No mention of banning concealed guns. No mention of banning guns!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    No Guns not Allowed signs.
    Just a “Request” that you not bring your guns. If you can read, please notice that he did not ban guns, he just
    “Requested”.
    If you can not go their without your AK or AR on your shoulder, then just eat somewhere else. Don’t throw a temper tantrum like a spoiled brat. Just TRY to be an adult about it.

    rick w.
    NRA Member and Gun owner

    • The only person throwing a tantrum here is you. You’re the one yelling with the all caps. The rest of us are just saying, “OK, then we won’t go there.”

    • Rick, their requests mean something. These are their stores. If they request you not bring guns, they might as well be telling you that you can’t bring them in.

      This is especially true in St. Louis (the aforementioned home base), as no-gun signs do not have force of law here, and are essentially requests.

    • Wow, talk about child like tantrums. The man is publicly calling for people not to come into his restaurants with guns, and YOU are throwing a hissy fit and attempting to say that is not what he said. Now, stamp your feet and screech some more. THAT will help Shaich get out of the hole he is digging for himself.

    • We have seen the correct answer, “we follow the law!” Anything else needs a boycott. Just say no! For the children!

  38. To be honest I agree with Rick Wagner (who needs a beer).

    If I own a shop and I don’t want people to bring in pets, that’s my prerogative. If I own a shop and I don’t want people in my shop with no shirt or shoes, or if they want to bring their bicycle in my shop and bicycle around – that’s my prerogative as well. So I feel it is Panera’s right to dictate their policy within their shop. Makes perfect sense to me. Basically, by requesting people not bring guns in their store but not putting up the no guns allowed sign, they haven’t really made any statement at all. I can still bring my gun in, especially if it is concealed. I would be a bit more thrilled however if Panera told MDA to take their demands elsewhere, but I don’t really have any problem with this. They are trying to cater to both groups… because really they don’t want to be pulled into the debate – they just want to sell bread. As long as they are not fighting to take my rights away – I’m good with that.

    • Yes, any business has the right to dictate what occurs within their business. I have the right to tell said business owner to screw-off. It works both ways.

      • Although I agree with anonymous that a business has a right to request no guns, I disagree with his implication that it’s acceptable to then conceal it. They asked that all guns be left at home, not just visible ones, and by sneaking a gun in in violation of that request, he’s violating the very right he is telling us that the business owner has. The fact that they don’t know about it doesn’t excuse it.

        He tried to claim the request is meaningless, but if that’s the case then it’s meaningless for ALL modes of carry. It can’t be meaningless for CC but meaningful for OC.

        • By not putting up the sign they are allowing open/concealed carry and doing so without making an open statement saying they are allowing open/concealed carry – probably as to a means of dismissing and silencing the harassing and irritating moms demand action. If they really wanted to forbid you (law abiding citizens only) from bringing a firearm – they would put the sign up as it carries the force had the law.

          I agree, it is meaningless for all modes of carry. The difference is if you walk in open carrying they may ask you to leave because you are disrupting the “Panera Warmth.” If you are concealed carrying they aren’t going to know.

        • The difference is, they are pandering like a bunch of chickenshoot fairies. Just STFU other than to say “we follow the law.” Getting into arguments about what the meaning of “is” is just infuriates everyone. “We follow the law”. Is that so tough?

    • Anonymous, the statement they’ve made is that of siding with MDA, even if in a rather toothless fashion.They’ve essentially said that they would rather pay lip service to group that opposes human rights, and disinvite all of us from their stores.

      It appears they made the right choice, business-wise, as the pro-gun folk apparently hate their food, prices, and “stench of liberalism.” Back when my bible-beater friends and I would go there, it was more like a loud noise of brash conservatism…

      Also, keep in mind that signs do not always carry the force of law. It depends on the state.

      • 1) In my state, the sign carries the force of the law.
        2) All the Panera Bread’s in my region don’t have the sign.
        3) Panera Bread is based on a franchise system where an owner (who has enough dough) can buy a franchise for multi-unit cafes. Just because some douche from some region far away from my own says he doesn’t like guns, doesn’t mean that my local franchises do not.

        If my local Panera’s put up the sign, then they would not have my business – simple as that.

        • “Just because some douche from some region far away from my own says he doesn’t like guns, doesn’t mean that my local franchises do not.”

          When he is the HNIC of the corporation you are buying said franchise from it does. Just ask anyone who owns/operates a Waffle House.

        • @2Hotel9

          This is why I don’t care if the local branch is fine with the guns. They’re still subject to overall policy, they’re still the “beneficiary” of a request that I not go armed into their establishment, and the man they share their profit with is still an anti-gun dingbat.

        • I know several people working for Target and 3 of them conceal carry. I’m sure many other people in the same position do it too, regardless what corporate/management have to say about it.

  39. I got the exact same form letter response.

    I’m very sorry to hear you disagree with our policy. Within our company, we strive to create Panera Warmth, which means, among other things, creating bakery-cafe environments where customers and associates feel comfortable. Panera Bread respects the rights of gun owners, but we do believe asking that customers not bring their firearms inside our bakery-cafes is consistent with the bakery-cafe environment we are attempting to create.

    Thank you for taking the time to write to us and share your comments.

    Sincerely,
    Panera Bread

  40. So let me pose this question: if a business can be held liable when an employee or customer is injured (slip and fall, etc), couldn’t they be held liable if they don’t allow guns and a criminal enters and shoots someone? Maybe we need a pro gun attorney to say that he will start doing lawsuits against businesses that don’t allow guns and someone gets shot in them?

    • Or just robbed. Emotional trauma. Whatever. Take the political left’s playbook, roll it up like a newspaper and beat the living sh*t out of them with it.

        • Sure, that’s all well and good until the ad hominem attacks start. Then I get to decide. So I did.

          I went through and cleaned out all the stupidity in the thread above, and left the actual discourse. Nothing of value was lost, and now the comment section doesn’t look like a catfight between middle school girls.

        • Since you are an empowered one perhaps you could explain to your cohort that in the world there exist more than one person named Paul, and Paul T. McCain is not me.

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