(NEW YORK) — A video of mac and cheese being prepared inside a kitchen at one Panera Bread location has quickly gained attention online.
Whether you go to Panera for the fresh baked breads, soup and seasonal salad or another item, like the popular mac and cheese, the menu at the fast-casual restaurant is understandably, prepared quickly.
The company states on its website that the company believes “that good food, food you can feel good about, can bring out the best in all of us,” but one former employee’s recent social media post has caused some people to question that notion.
TikTok user @briannaraelenee (Brianna Ramirez) posted the video “how Panera prepares mac and cheese” on the music and lip dubbing social media platform with the caption “exposing Panera” set to a man laughing.
The shell-shaped pasta with creamy cheese sauce comes from the freezer in a vacuum sealed bag, gets submerged into boiling water, removed, opened and plated.
The comments from other TikTok users were split.
“That’s how most fast food restaurants prepare the food,” one person said, alluding to the prep work so that the food can be served hot in an instant.
“I mean… it’s still good,” another replied.
But others seemed insensed by the notion of flash-freezing items for consistent cookery.
“For the price this is dishonest from Panera, they are just a well designed McDonald’s with luxurious prices,” someone wrote.
The company did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment, but earlier told The Washington Post, that they “confirmed the TikTok video’s authenticity.”
Panera Bread defended its product to The Washington Post and said the mac and cheese is, “made offsite with our proprietary recipe developed by our chefs.”
“It is shipped frozen to our bakery cafes — this allows us to avoid using preservatives which do not meet our clean standards,” the company said.
After the video went viral, the same TikTok user posted a series of videos in the face of the backlash to defend the practice of heating frozen food and delivered a tearful apology.
“I like my job, I’m really not trying to get fired,” she said.
She shared the news on Twitter on Friday that she lost her job, and claimed it was because of the original post.
When someone replied asking how the restaurant found out, she said “it went viral on tik tok and ended up on the news where I live.”
Panera has not commented on Ramirez’s employment status.
Ramirez did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.
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