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Panera swears off artificial ingredients

Panera swears off artificial ingredients

NEW YORK -- Panera says it will remove artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives from its food by 2016, a reflection of the growing distaste people are showing for such ingredients.

The chain of bakery cafes, which has about 1,800 U.S. locations, is making the pledge as part of a "Food Policy" it is unveiling Tuesday that outlines its commitment to "clean" and "simple" ingredients.

The announcement comes at a time when Panera Bread Co. is facing slowing sales growth and working to jumpstart its business.

It also underscores how positioning foods as natural has become a marketing advantage, regardless of whether it brings any nutritional benefits.

Bloom Our Youth to receive grant from Panera Bread

Bloom Our Youth to receive grant from Panera Bread

FAYETTE COUNTY, Ga. -- Panera Bread has announced a partnership between three of its restaurants and Bloom Our Youth, a service that supports foster children.

Throughout 2014, Panera customers have the option of making cash donations to the organization. Collection sites, known as Community Bread Boxes, will be installed in participating restaurants.

The Panera in Fayetteville has also committed to preparing 24 meals a year for residents at the Friday-Johnson Home, a children's home in southern Fayette County.

"The overwhelming generosity that Panera Bread has shown us through this venture is simply astounding," Bloom executive director Becky Davenport said in a release.

Participating Panera locations include 104 Ellis Road in Fayetteville; 379 Bullsboro Drive in Newnan; and 1263 North Peachtree Parkway in Peachtree City.

The initiative is part of Panera's Operation Dough-Nation program, the company's charitable outreach venture.

IHOP rolls out summer menu items

IHOP rolls out summer menu items

(WXIA) -- IHOP is celebrating the start of summer with new pancake recipes, lemonades, salads and sandwiches.

The chain's signature pancakes can now be ordered in three summer fruit varieties -- strawberry banana cream pie, raspberry peach and blueberry cannoli cream.

New lemonade flavors on IHOP's menu include iced tea, orange tangerine iced tea and cherry blackberry. The summer lemonades are available through July 20.

IHOP has also added menu items to its lunch and dinner offerings, including:

Citrus Chicken Pecan Salad
Grilled chicken, orange segments and candied pecans on a bed of mixed greens, tossed in orange vinaigrette dressing

Crispy Chicken Cobb Salad
Crispy chicken, bacon, hard-boiled egg, tomatoes and crumbled Blue cheese on a bed of mixed greens and tossed in ranch dressing; also available with grilled chicken

Local restaurants make 5 Make-a-Wish dreams come true

Local restaurants make 5 Make-a-Wish dreams come true

(WXIA) -- Diners at two metro Atlanta-based restaurant chains had a hand in making wishes come true for five very special children.

Throughout March and April, J. Christopher's and Reveille Café customers donated more than $47,000 to the Make-a-Wish organizations in Georgia and Middle Tennessee. Make-a-Wish grants surprises to children living with life-threatening medical conditions.

Thanks to the diners' generosity, Make-a-Wish was able to send five kids on trips of a lifetime:

Andrea, age 3
Hematologic (blood) disorder
Andrea got to go to Disney World and meet her idols -- Mickey and Minnie; Peter Pan and Tinkerbell; Pluto and Goofy.

Bryce, age 4
Wilms' tumor (kidney cancer)
Bryce got to fly on a plane to Disney World, ride the rides and meet Mickey Mouse.

Elijah, age 8
Respiratory condition
Elijah took an "absolutely awesome" trip to Disney World.

Flying Biscuit to support Make-A-Wish

Flying Biscuit to support Make-A-Wish

(WXIA) -- The Flying Biscuit Café will raise money for Make-A-Wish Georgia next month.

RELATED | 11Alive performs a Random Act of Kindness at the Flying Biscuit

Throughout June, all Flying Biscuit locations will give a percentage of sales from the Egg-stravaganza entrée to Make-A-Wish, which makes dreams come true for sick children. Diners will also have the option of making donations to Make-A-Wish's Summer of Wishes campaign.

Egg-stravaganza consists of farm fresh eggs, chicken sausage and turkey bacon with a side of whole wheat French toast and the chain's signature grits.

Visit flyingbiscuit.com for more information and to find your nearest Flying Biscuit location.

Mellow Mushroom hosting Sports Authority shopping spree contest

Mellow Mushroom hosting Sports Authority shopping spree contest

(WXIA) -- In honor of its role as sponsor of the 2014 AJC Peachtree Road Race, Mellow Mushroom is hosting a contest for the runners, athletes and weekend warriors in metro Atlanta.

The Atlanta-based pizza chain has debuted its Mellow Sports Sweep contest. Based on the old game show "Supermarket Sweep," the contest will give two lucky winners the opportunity to go on a 90-second shopping spree at Sports Authority.

To enter, create a 15-second Instagram video using #MellowSportsSweep explaining why you should win the contest.

The grand prize includes two race entries into the 2014 AJC Peachtree Road Race, one night at the W Atlanta - Buckhead, dinner for two at Mellow Mushroom and, of course, the Sports Authority sweep.

Eat at Chili's to help Tenn. tornado victims

Eat at Chili's to help Tenn. tornado victims

(WXIA) -- Several Southern states were slammed by severe weather earlier this week, including Lincoln County, Tenn., which experienced a devastating tornado.

Those who want to contribute to the community's rebuilding fund can now do so, simply by eating at Chili's.

On Sunday, May 4, more than 60 Chili's restaurants in Georgia and Tennessee will contribute 10 percent of the day's earnings to the Lincoln County Disaster Relief Fund.

Chili's diners can also make monetary donations by adding extra money to their check totals.

Visit chilis.com to find your nearest Chili's.