Pay as you please

Most businesses have a goal of making a profit. Others have a goal of making a difference to others.

Panera Cares, the subject of today's blog

The final category of businesses is under the radar, but it does exist. What about the businesses who have two goals – making money and helping others?

Take Panera Bread, for example. My friends and I frequent the local Panera Bread restaurants to enjoy their smoothies, soup, sandwiches, pastries and so much more.

I’m a pretty big fan of Panera Bread, but after I ran across an article stating a project the company has had in the works for a few years and my love for the company grew leaps and bounds in the three minutes it took me to read the article.


The idea behind Panera Cares Cafe is to pay-what-you-can. Food served at the cafes is similar to what you would find at Panera Bread. Accompanied with the food item on the menu board is a suggested donation price. Cashiers simply ring up what you order and give you what the suggested donation is. Then you have the choice on where to go from there.

Your four options:

1. Pay nothing

2. Pay what you can

3. Pay the suggested price

4. Pay the suggested price + extra

A true test

A sign found in Panera Cares Cafe

I like to look at the concept of Panera Cares Cafe as a test of our generosity towards one another.

Ron Shiach, president of the Panera Foundation and executive chairman of Panera Break company, said the idea was a “true test of humanity.”

So here is where I would like my readers to get involved. Tell me what you think about this concept. Panera Cares Cafe trial cafeterias have been open for over a year and the results are in.

Do you think Panera Cares Cafe has had success? Share your comments below.

I’ll let you know the results of the study later on this week.

“We are not about a handout.

We are about a hand up for those who really need it.”

-A sign in Panera Cares Cafe


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