Panera Bread wants its customers to know something: your guns are unwelcome in our stores.
CEO Ron Shaich recently announced the company’s decision to prohibit guns being brought into any of its 1,800 outlets across the country after weeks of consultation with anti-gun activist group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
In an interview with CNBC, Shaich explained the decision, saying,
Within our company, we strive to create Panera Warmth. This warmth means bakery-cafes where customers and associates feel comfortable and welcome. To this end, we ask that guns not be brought into this environment unless carried by an authorized law enforcement officer. Panera respects the rights of gun owners, but asks our customers to help preserve the environment we are working to create for our guests and associates.
The announcement was met with praise by Moms Demand Action, who are now applying pressure on other companies to follow a similar course of action. According to Forbes,
“Panera deserves our thanks and our congratulations for taking this important step, and I applaud the company for proactively consulting Moms Demand Action as it developed and implemented its policy,” said the group’s founder Shannon Watts, who has herself become the focus of ire from open carry activists and the NRA in recent months following efforts to see retailers and restaurant chains change their firearms policies.Watts and her team have most recently spent six figures on an ad blitz aiming to force the hand of Kroger, the country’s largest grocery store chain. As of press time, Kroger KR +2.69% maintained it would respect state and local laws on gun rights.
Panera Bread joins Starbucks and Target on a growing list of companies resolving to ban guns from their stores.