The subject of multiple wrongful death lawsuits, Charged Lemonade is being dropped

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NEW YORK — Panera Bread is eliminating Charged Lemonade from its menu, the caffeinated beverage that has sparked multiple lawsuits and caused a public relations nightmare for the company.
The Charged Lemonades will come off the menu in the next two weeks, according to Bloomberg, which first reported the news.
The chain declined to comment to CNN on the timeline of the drinks’ removal.
A Panera spokesperson said new drinks will replace it, including low-sugar and low-caffeine options, including a new blueberry lavender lemonade, pomegranate hibiscus tea, citrus punch and a tropical green smoothie.
Panera kept the Charged Lemonades on the menu, despite the controversies, because experts say removing the drink immediately could have come across as an implied admission that something was wrong with it in the first place.
Haggerty added that it’s a “cost-benefit analysis … the loss of reputational value will often outweigh anything that occurs in the courtroom.”
Last month, Panera revamped its offerings with its “largest menu transformation ever” that refocused its selection on sandwiches, soups, salads and macaroni and cheese.
The changes come as Panera is planning to go public again later this year.

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NEW YORK—Panera Bread is getting rid of Charged Lemonade, the caffeinated beverage that has triggered numerous lawsuits and created a nightmare for the company’s PR.

The news was first reported by Bloomberg, which also states that the Charged Lemonades will be removed from the menu within the next two weeks. Regarding the timeline for the drinks’ removal, the chain declined to comment to CNN.

In recent months, Panera has been the target of at least three different lawsuits regarding its line of contentious drinks. The lawsuits allege that the product’s high caffeine content caused the deaths of two customers and irreversible health problems for another.

According to a Panera representative, it will be replaced by new beverages that are lower in sugar and caffeine. Some of the options include pomegranate hibiscus tea, citrus punch, blueberry lavender lemonade, and tropical green smoothie.

Despite the controversy, Panera kept the Charged Lemonades on the menu because, according to experts, taking the drink off the menu right away might have been interpreted as an implicit admission that there was a problem with it from the start.

Crisis PR expert James Haggerty previously told CNN that “very often in lawsuits, there is a knee-jerk reaction among lawyers to do as little as possible publicly out of some vague fear that you are exposing yourself to additional liability.” Haggerty noted that this approach can have a detrimental effect on a company’s market value, sometimes to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.

It’s a “cost-benefit analysis .,” according to Haggerty. Often, the damage to one’s reputation will be greater than any legal proceedings. “.”.

With its “largest menu transformation ever,” Panera redesigned its menu last month, putting a greater emphasis on salads, sandwiches, soups, and macaroni and cheese. Chili, several sweet treats, and flatbreads were among the items that were eliminated.

A Panera representative stated of the redesign, “We are excited to continue the success of our recent menu transformation, which began with our core options of sandwiches and salads.”. We are now concentrating on the wide selection of beverages we know our customers want after listening to the opinions of over 30,000 customers about what they wanted from Panera. “.”.

The adjustments coincide with Panera’s intention to reopen for business later this year. The chain fired 300 employees in November 2023, accounting for 18% of its corporate workforce. According to a recent Reuters report, the chain is lowering the standards it sets for its ingredients in an attempt to save $20 million a year.

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