Friday Fun: Panera Co. Pay What You Wish

For my Friday Fun’s I usually try to loosely stick to the topic of libraries or technology, but sometimes other things pop up that I find interesting and want to share and a Friday post is a good time. 

My mom called me the other day to tell me that she was just at Saint Louis Bread Co. and the location participated in plan that was called a pay what you wish.  (For all of you non-native St. Louisians, Saint Louis Bread Co. is actually Panera Bread Co. and its test kitchens along with their headquarters are located in the St. Louis area.)  Apparently, Panera Co decided to open a nonprofit restaurant in Clayton, MO (well to do inner ring suburb of St. Louis) that operated on the honor system.  As the cashier rang up the order they would say something like, the suggested price is $X but you can pay what you wish. 

At first blush you would think that the restaurant would be out of food in hours and would be broke within days, but that isn’t what happended.  According an Associated Press article(thanks Mom for the article) most people are pretty honest, about 60%-70% pay in full the suggested (menu price) about 15% pay a little more, about 15% play less or nothing, and a handful of people leave big donations. 

The community restaurant is successful enough that Panera Cares (their nonprofit arm of the company) plans expand the concept around the nation and will be opening two more locations within months. 

Kind of a nice happy story to start off the weekend.

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