Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Panera Won't Make People Pay

They say there's no such thing as a free lunch, but if you're a conscienceless tightwad in St. Louis, there just might be. Panera Bread Co. has opened its first nonprofit location, where customers can get the same food served at a capitalist Panera, but no one is going to make them pay for it. A sign informs diners that they can "donate whatever they want for a meal, whether it's the full suggested price, a penny or $100." The Associated Press says customers "seem alternately puzzled and pleased by the concept." On opening day, most of them paid full price for their meals, but some knocked a few dollars off their totals. Panera execs say that if the St. Louis nonprofit store manages to support itself, they will expand the concept to other cities. "It all depends," the AP says, "on whether customers will abide by the motto that hangs above the deli counter: 'Take what you need, leave your fair share.' "

Credits: Slate Magazine

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