Reheating frozen food is understandable, firing an employee for exposing it is not.
By now, you've probably seen the viral TikTok of a Panera Bread employee "exposing" (as her caption reads) how the fast food chain prepares their macaroni and cheese. The video shows frozen packages of the dish being dropped in a vat of boiling water before being poured into a bowl. The process is dubbed over with someone cackling uncontrollably, making it seem like Panera has been slyly pulling an evil trick on their customers.
The video has accumulated over six million views and almost a million likes. Surely, this incited a response from the company. Panera spokeswoman, Jessica Hesselschwerdt, told USA TODAY that Panera pre-freezes several menu items "to avoid using certain preservatives that do not meet our clean standards. We want to make sure that if you're in Massachusetts or California or in any one of our 2,100 locations that you get that same awesome experience. This is how we are efficient and how we make it consistent. We want that experience to be great, and that's the best way to do it."
The whistleblowing employee also posted another TikTok to defend Panera's practices, claiming it is very common for fast food chains to freeze food and it doesn't compromise taste or safety. "There's not a reason not to eat it," she said. "Most stores have frozen food ... and you'll still eat it." Another TikTok showed her crying (or pretending to cry) over the possibility that she would lose her job.
Despite siding with Panera and professing that she likes her job, the employee has been fired. She announced this development in a tweet that said, "Lol i lost my job for this." Panera has not yet commented on her firing, but this decision is likely to be met with criticism too.