Surprising no one, the socialist pay-what-you-want model employed by Panera Bread affiliate Panera Cares, is completely unsustainable and will close down this month.
Panera Cares aimed to provide food for impoverished or otherwise needful individuals as a “non-profit” restaurant. Yet the business plan was inherently flawed. Panera Cares attempted to offer it’s meals at a donation price that was only a “suggestion.” Customers could pay whatever they felt was appropriate or what they could afford…or nothing at all.
Obviously this led to some customers paying a fair wage for their meals. But more often than not Panera Cares was doling out free lunches.
The chain first opened in 2010 and eventually had five established locations in Dearborn, Portland, Chicago, Boston, and St. Louis.
Eater disclosed that “The Portland-based Panera Cares was reportedly only recouping between 60 and 70 percent of its total costs.” That isn’t surprising when your stores are being overrun by broke students and homeless customers. The location was forced to limit offerings to the homeless to “a few meals a week.”
Even the company founder, Ron Shaich, was forced to admit, “people ultimately came to the locations for a handout.”
Shaich stepped down as CEO in 2017. He disclosed to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that “the nature of the economics did not make sense.”
Hopefully the rest of the socialist dreamers are paying attention to the result of this “experiment.”