Here’s the Hidden Meaning Behind the Panera Logo

Updated: May 09, 2024

Believe it or not, there have been five Panera logos.

Panera has been a staple restaurant in my life since high school. I’ve spent a lot of time in those green and beige booths eating salads, sandwiches and the top-tier mac and cheese. But Panera has some secrets that you may not know, and the logo might be one of them.

History of Panera

Panera Bread was first opened in 1987 by Ken and Linda Rosenthal as The St. Louis Bread Company. Its first location was in Kirkwood, Missouri. In 1993, the company was purchased by the Au Bon Pain Company for $23 million. The restaurant changed its name to Panera in 1997, a version of the Latin word for “bread” or “bread basket.”

The original logo depicted a woman lovingly holding a loaf of bread. It was drawn with long, thick black lines and featured the Panera logo underneath in an all-black font.

The Panera Logo Through the Years

Panera logo history graphicTaste of Home, Via (5)

Panera has had five different logos throughout its history, with its first lasting from 1987 to 2005. In 2005, Panera updated its logo with a warm yellow tint backing the woman and bread. The logo was updated again in 2011 with a slightly lighter tint of yellow behind the woman that spanned the length of her flowing hair, as well as an updated font.

From 2019 to 2020, the logo got a complete makeover. It included the words Panera Bread in a straight line with a rectangular background. The woman in the logo no longer had flowing hair, and held a bundle of wheat rather than her loaf of bread.

But in 2020, Panera brought it back around to the original. The woman and her flowing hair made a comeback, except this time, she faced the camera with her loaf of bread. This is an important detail: The background depicts a green arch.

What Does the Panera Logo Mean?

The meaning hides in the semi-arch background. It’s meant to look like the mouth of an oven. The green color also represents the natural products used in Panera’s recipes. Panera, with its mother-inspired logo, has always tried to make its customers feel warm and at home.

And you can bring that warmth home too, with these copycat recipes for bread bowls and Cinnamon Crunch bagels. You can dig into ’em while looking up other hidden meanings in food logos.