The chain's CEO is asking McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King to reconsider what they're putting in kids' meals.

Devon Walsh
September 20, 2017

Soup, sandwich and salad chain Panera Bread launches a revamped kids’ menu today. The menu features nearly 250 “clean combinations” without artificial ingredients, consisting of smaller-sized entrees, priced from $4.59 to $7.89. And this new step prompted the company’s founder and CEO, Ron Shaich, to politely challenge fellow fast food chains in a video on the brand’s Twitter page. Tagging @McDonalds, @Wendys and @BurgerKing, he asks them to clean up their own kids’ meals. In case you were wondering, the accompanying hashtag, because there’s always a hashtag these days, is #KidsMenuChallenge.

In the video, Shaich wonders whether fellow fast food execs would be willing to eat all three of their daily meals off of the kids' menus of their respective restaurants for an entire week. Personally, the CEO says he “would happily live off of Panera’s kids' menu.”

Shaich posed the challenge to Business Insider thusly: "Would you really order it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, three meals a day for seven days?” (Which begs the question, should kids really eat all three meals at a fast food chain in the first place?) Shiach added, "What we're trying to do is, in the middle of the night, trying to get these people to think to themselves—is what we're doing really for the good of the kids?"

Shaich also believes that brands should eliminate happy meal toys and any marketing directed towards young people. That might be a hard sell, but in some cases, restaurants are making subtle changes to children's menu offerings. Recently, McDonald’s took steps to clean up its kids' menus by adding organic apple juice and offering items like apple slices as a side. But it bothers Shaich that children can still choose from the "nutritional nightmares” that are nuggets, burgers, and fries.

While the video and campaign are designed to highlight the benefits of eating at Panera, we're certainly curious to see if McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King's CEOs really will decide to partake in the #KidsMenuChallenge.