You know the dilemma: Rough morning weather cancels school, and by noon the kids are hopelessly bored. So what can you do? If the roads have cleared, brighten their day (and yours) by bringing them to a Panera Bread bakery-cafe for lunch and other fun activities. Not many moms and dads are aware that in 2009 Parents magazine voted us one of the country’s 10 Best Fast-Casual Family Restaurants. Here’s why we think they’re right on the mark:2011-01-04
Feed them food they’ll love. Our special kid’s menu features three tasty sandwiches (Grilled Cheese, Peanut Butter & Jelly, and Kid’s Deli). They’re all made with White Whole Grain bread that’s wonderfully fluffy but very nutritious, and each is served with a squeezable organic yogurt. We also make our savory Signature Macaroni & Cheese, served in a cup on our Panera Kid’s menu.
Fill a mini bread bowl. Here’s a little secret: Although it’s not on the menu, Dan Kish, our head chef, says you can ask any associate to make a miniature bread bowl out of a sourdough roll and fill it with your child’s favorite soup. “They’ll love it,” he promises.
Create a shareable moment. When the plates are clean and it’s time for dessert, Kish suggests letting your son or daughter pick their favorite pastry or cookie and then splitting it. Such “shareable moments,” as he calls them, are good for you and your little one.
Read a book or browse the Internet together. There are other things to do in our bakery-cafes besides munch. Order a couple of hot chocolates and curl up together in a leather chair to read a book or explore a fun or educational topic on the Internet. Our Wi-Fi is always free.
Organize an impromptu party. If you’re feeling up to it, call your neighborhood Panera Bread bakery-cafe and ask if anyone is using the Community Room or Community Table. Then have your child invite a few friends, pack a bag of games, puzzles, or crafts, and have a spur-of-the-moment fun day. Stick a few candles in the Pastry Roll and celebrate something.
Start a Daddy (or Mommy) Day. “I was talking to a woman the other day who told me that her husband and daughter come to Panera Bread once a week for Daddy Day,” says Kish. “It’s their special time. They share a meal, catch up on what’s going on in their lives, and just enjoy being together.”
Believe it or not, one day when the kids are grown, you’ll probably look back on snow days and get a little wistful. So enjoy them while you still can.