Santa Rosa, CA

California Woman Says She Is Confused After Receiving Free Cookies From Her Local Panera Bread. What Is Happening?

Photo byBen LeionUnsplash

Did you know 133 billion pounds of food are wasted annually in the United States alone? That's enough to fill the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California, every day for a year.

In Santa Rosa, California, one woman's now viral video has brought attention to giving away cookies to prevent them from being thrown away.

In the video that has now amassed over 326,200 views, user Em (@cummunistxmanifesto) reveals that Panera Bread keeps giving her free cookies every time she visits. In fact, on her latest visit, she received four cookies for free.

While many viewers found this amusing and desirable, others were left uneasy.

Here's what happened

The TikToker tells the Daily Dot in one of the TikTok comments: “I go to Panera Bread at least 2-3 times a week and I’m usually visibly sad, I think the employee wants to make me feel better,”

In her caption she says, "I'm not complaining, I'm just confused."

Panera Bread has not yet issued a statement about the situation. Still, alleged former and current Panera Bread workers took to the comments section of Em's TikTok video to explain why she might be getting the free cookies.
The TikToker says in the caption she is "not complaining"Photo byTikTok

Some suggested that it's because the employees have too many cookies that would go to waste otherwise.

“It’s (because) we throw them away otherwise or we get to take them home but after awhile we take so much home we’re begging people to take them from us.”

While another said:

“When I used worked there we’d do this if it was close to closing and we had a ton of bakery treats (we’d mark them as wasted but give them out still).”

Others proposed that it might be because they feel sorry for Em or are trying to win her over.

“I wish I had this problem"

Food waste

But should Em keep receiving free cookies, even if they will be thrown away otherwise? On the other hand, is it acceptable for Panera Bread to throw away perfect food items instead of donating them to those in need?

There is a legal act known as the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act of 1996 that provides limited liability protection to those who provide food to those in need.

Although food outlets may be hesitant to give away excess food due to fear of being sued, this Act provides protection for those who do so.

Has this sweet video with hundreds of thousands of views brought attention to the food waste problem in the fast food industry? Or does it simply show a sweet treat and good customer service?

At the time of writing, there are 184 Panera Bread locations in California.


As consumers, we can demand that restaurants reduce food waste and donate excess food to those in need.

But what do you think about this particular situation? Do you think Em should continue to receive free cookies? Should Panera Bread be donating its excess food to those in need? Let us know in the comments and share with others if you like.

Disclaimer: This article is only for educational and informational purposes.

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Bringing you the best Food, Retail and Travel news from across California & nationwide. I've been eating Big Macs since I was 5 years old. I strive to live Micah 6:8 every day.

Los Angeles, CA

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