Panera Co. Will Open More Pay-What-You-Want Cafes

Panera Co. Will Open More Pay-What-You-Want Cafes

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panera-bread-flickr-samatha-celera.jpgAs the first crowd of customers filed into Panera Co.’s nonprofit restaurant, only the honor system kept them from taking all the food they wanted for free.

Ronald Shaich, Panera’s chairman, admitted as he watched them line up that he had no idea if this experiment would work. The idea for Panera’s first nonprofit restaurant was to open an eatery where people paid what they could. The richer could pay full price — or extra. The poorer could get a cheap or even free meal.

A month later, the verdict is in: It turns out people are basically good — and many are very good.

The cafe, in an upscale St. Louis suburb, has convinced Panera Foundation officials to open two more restaurants elsewhere.

(READ the AP story at

Thanks to Chris Cloud for submitting the link! – Flickr photo by Samatha Celera