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article imagePanera Bread announces a 'no-gun' policy for its cafes

By James Walker     Sep 11, 2014 in Business
Popular cafe chain Panera Bread is now discouraging customers from bringing guns into its stores as it joins a growing list of businesses enforcing such rules, despite American law allowing for it.
CEO Ron Shaich has announced that Panera Bread will no longer allow customers to carry guns into their shops. In an interview with MSNBC on Monday, Shaich made this announcement: "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."
Panera has since joined a growing list of retailers banning guns in their stores, which includes the likes of Target and coffee outlet Starbucks. The decision has received mixed responses from gun owners. Many gun owners say that they respect private property, but they can also take their dinings elsewhere. They believe this decision comes with a price to Panera.
Panera Bread has been working with 'Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America' for the last few months in developing and implementing the policy. Moms Demand Action is an Everytown non-profit demanding retail stores and restaurant chains change their firearms policies. This Bloomberg funded non-profit recently ran a six-figure ad campaign petitioning Kroger, the country's largest grocery chain, to change their firearm policy. The campaign wasn't fruitful as Kroger says they will maintain state and local laws on gun rights.
Panera Bread has so far had an awesome year in terms of business. They have received great success with their new service extension, Panera Catering, and small changes like the one in gun policy play important roles in the overall success. The Panera Bread gun decision has been applauded by the majority of their customers. Rebecca, 33 and a mother of two kids, says, "I definitely feel safer at Panera Breads now. It's really embarrassing when you dine out with your 4 and 7 years old children and you find yourselves sitting next to a man with an open gun beside
his plate. I hope more stores follow Panera as I believe this is the right thing to do."
Panera Bread runs 1818 bakery-cafes in 45 states in the USA and in Ontario, Canada under the Panera Bread, Saint Louis Bread Co and Paradise Bakery & Cafe names.
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