At the end of the night, every Panera Bread bakery-café donates its unsold bread and bakery products to help feed people in need through the Day-End Dough-Nation program. Rather than relegate unsold breads, bagels, muffins and pastries to a dumpster, employees box them up for local non-profit organizations.
The bakery-café chain partners with Food Pantries, Homeless Shelters, Low-Income Elderly Services, Disability Homes, Domestic Violence Shelters, At-Risk Youth Programs, Immigrant/Refugee Assistance Services and many more as part of this program. In an average year, Panera cafés serve over 3,500 local non-profits through the program and each night unsold bread and bakery products support non-profit partners feeding neighbors in need.
Once a local soup kitchen, for instance, is approved to receive Day-End Dough-Nation baked goods, it sends a volunteer to Panera after closing time for a weekly pick up. The following day, the soup kitchen will serve the donated bread and pastries alongside the meals it gives its clients in need. Some large food distribution agencies pick up donations every night. Most groups, however, participate just once or twice a week.
In 2021, Panera Bread bakery-cafés will have donated approximately $100 million in unsold bread and bakery products to people in need across the country through the Day-End Dough-Nation program.
“Some other companies may sell their day-old products the next day at a discount. We don’t,” says Pensacola, Florida manager Udo Freyhofer. “I feel good about having fresh items available for our customers while helping out those in need in our community.”