Social Media Reaction Prompts Panera Bread to Return French Onion Soup to Its Menu

The Office’s Phyllis Smith read some of the mean tweets the company received

St. Louis native Phyllis Smith helped out the Sunset Hills, Mo.-based company Panera Bread
Headshot of David Cohen

When fast-casual restaurant chain Panera Bread pulled French onion soup off its menu in September, the reaction on Twitter was fast, furious and, often, mean.

And it worked: French onion soup was restored to the menu at Panera.

The company’s headquarters is located in Sunset Hills, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis, and it turned to St. Louis native Phyllis Smith, best known for portraying Phyllis Vance on classic sitcom The Office, to break the news of the return of French onion soup and read some of the mean tweets that prompted the decision.

Panera Bread vice president of marketing Scott Nelson said in an email, “Our marketing initiatives are rooted in consumer insights, and we evolve based on what we know guests want. This is an example of social listening at its best. Customers wanted French onion soup back on the menu, so we listened and acted, with our own Panera twist, of course. Now you can enjoy French onion again at your local Panera, and who better to help bring it back than our friend, Phyllis?”

Panera Bread David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.
Publish date: January 8, 2020 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT