It’s been three years since sandwich chain Panera opened its first pay-what-you-want eatery, where customers can disregard the listed menu price and pay what they can afford or what they feel the meal is worth. The company soon added others in a handful in other cities. Now the eatery says it is expanding the model to all 48 Paneras in and around St. Louis, though it will only involve one menu item. [More]
Over the last couple years, the folks at Panera have slowly been expanding their pay-what-you-can Panera Cares eateries beyond the initial experiment in Missouri. But the latest Panera Cares, located in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, is drawing some jeers from local residents who say the restaurant is attracting an undesirable element.
Panera Bread’s noble experiment in pay-what-you-want retail has been successful at its first two restaurants in St. Louis and Detroit, taking in about 80% of the retail price of the food they serve. They serve as shining reminders of the fundamental goodness of people. In the Midwest, anyway. Until recently, the third free-will restaurant in Portland, Oregon was faltering, not attracting enough paying customers and
losing money. not taking in as much as Panera’s similar eateries.