Refill Station at Panera Bread Restaurant

Ken Wolter/ShutterStock @tgypt0/TikTok (Licensed)

‘We were forced to move them because people can’t read the warning labels’: Customer says Panera ‘deleted’ the Charged Lemonades

‘Didn’t they kill someone’


Jack Alban


A Panera customer’s TikTok about the chain’s decision to “delete” free refills of its Charged Lemonades sparked a viral discussion about the offering’s caffeine content.

TikTok user Tgypt (@tgypt0) amassed nearly 70,000 views on the clip showing the coolers that contain the popular drink were moved to a different part of the restaurant. The TikToker writes in a text overlay of a video: “Panera deleted unlimited charged lemonaids.”

The clip shows the self service soda fountain and iced teas area which usually allows for customers to get unlimited refills for themselves during a single visit to a Panera chain. Previously, the brand’s Charged Lemonades, which are sugary, fruit-flavored drinks packed with caffeine, were situated in the self-service area.

However, it would appear that the brand has opted to moved these offerings behind the counter as a means of regulating just how much customers are able to pour for themselves in a short amount of time. This seems to be a response to the lawsuit Panera was slapped with following the death of 21-year-old Sarah Katz. The student’s pre-existing heart condition was allegedly exacerbated upon consumption of the beverage, according to NBC News.

For context, a single 30-ounce charged lemonade from Panera contains about 390 milligrams of caffeine. Compare that to a 12-ounce can of Red Bull, which has 111 milligrams. Since the charged lemonades aren’t carbonated and are sweet, they’re arguably easier to slurp down than their canned energy drink counterparts. And that means that folks can consume a significant amount of caffeine in a relatively short amount of time, especially if they have access to free refills and order the drink when they’re particularly thirsty.

The main point of contention in Katz’s family’s lawsuit is that the drink doesn’t come with a warning label notifying consumers about its high caffeine content. After Katz’s death, the chain uploaded a warning to its website, according to Scripps News, which states that these particular beverages should only be used “in moderation” and that the Charged Lemonades are “NOT RECOMMENDED FOR children, people sensitive to caffeine, pregnant or nursing women.” Panera’s website includes a message that the beverages are “plant-based and clean with as much caffeine as our dark roast coffee.”

Folks who responded to Tgypt’s post, however, said that curbing folks from drinking the Charged Lemonades, even when their taps are situated behind the counter so pours can be monitored by employees, is easier said than done.

One TikToker wrote, “Not necessarily, you can always ask for a refill.” Another said that despite slurping down a number of these beverages in the span of a couple of hours, they weren’t adversely affected by its caffeine content: “I used to drink 2 – 3 of those in like 2 hours every Friday for a year. I have no idea how I did not feel the caffeine.”

One user described the chain’s previous unfettered access to the Charged Lemonades as a problematic scenario for those who are sensitive to caffeine. “It was like having Red Bull on tap. I was one cup away from a massive heart attack,” they wrote.

However, there was one viewer who appears to be a Panera worker, who indicated that the chain’s impetus behind “deleting” the Charged Lemonades unlimited refill option is because patrons choose to ignore the warning labels associated with the beverage. “No, we were forced to move them because people can’t read the warning labels we were told to put on the drinks,” the user wrote.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Panera via email and Tgypt via TikTok comment for further information.

The Daily Dot