Panera Faces Lawsuit Over Hidden Pandemic Delivery Fees

American consumers aren't happy with the ever-increasing fees they're paying for delivery food, but one current lawsuit is tilting the scales back in their favor. Bakery-café chain Panera Bread has settled a class action lawsuit alleging that it misled customers over certain delivery fees and prices on its menu during the COVID-19 pandemic (although the company hasn't admitted that it was wrong in its actions). Per the settlement, the company will pay out $2 million, and customers who placed an order for delivery on the Panera App or the Panera website between October 1, 2021 and August 31, 2022 may be able to receive a slice of it if they meet certain conditions.


The lawsuit claimed that Panera enticed customers by offering either free or $1 delivery on its website and app, but surreptitiously added extra delivery fees. One way Panera allegedly did this was by only prompting customers to choose "pick up" or "delivery" after they had selected a menu item — the two prices would be different, but customers would not have been able to see this price difference unless they actively switched the items from delivery to pick-up or vice versa.

Who can claim settlement money? And how much?

Customers who made a delivery order (but not a pick-up one) on Panera's website or app between October 1, 2020 and August 31, 2021 are covered in this class action — so if you're eligible to receive some of the settlement money, you should have received an email from Kroll Settlement Administration, the organization tasked with handling the settlement. If not, you can still stake a claim via Kroll's website, but you'll need to supply the phone number connected with an order during that time to receive the settlement. Only one claim per customer can be made regardless of how many orders you placed during that time. Claims have to be filed by June 10, 2024.


If you make a claim, you can choose between receiving a Panera voucher or cash. Those who opt for the former will get two $9.50 vouchers, which can only be used on Panera's "Soups & Mac" menu. If you choose cash, you'll receive up to $12, which will be paid out electronically. But don't make plans for that $12 too quickly, as the actual amount you actually receive could be lower, depending on how many people file claims.

This isn't the only notable lawsuit Panera is currently dealing with — a few other unrelated lawsuits are still ongoing, alleging that the chain's controversial charged lemonade caused deaths or health problems.