Sad: Panera’s ‘pay what you want’ restaurants – overrun by homeless, students – are closing

Sad: Panera’s ‘pay what you want’ restaurants – overrun by homeless, students – are closing
It seemed like a good idea at the time. A Panera Cares location opens in 2011. CBS video, YouTube

[Ed. – As an experiment, proof that even successful businessmen have often failed to learn some pretty basic things along the way.]

According to Eater, after nine years of being in business, Panera Bread’s socialist pay-what-you-want restaurant, Panera Cares, will officially be closing shop on February 15 due to the business model’s unsustainability. …

Rather than create a charitable organization that distributes food to needy families or a discount outlet or even a $1 menu (like every other fast-food restaurant), Panera tried to create a socialist system in which meals were offered at a suggested donation price. That means some people would pay more while others would pay less based on what they felt like or could afford. …

None of the restaurants were self-sustaining, with some locations reportedly being “mobbed” by students along with homeless people looking for a free meal.

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“The Portland-based Panera Cares was reportedly only recouping between 60 and 70 percent of its total costs,” reports Eater. “The losses were attributed to students who ‘mobbed’ the restaurant and ate without paying, as well as homeless patrons who visited the restaurant for every meal of the week. The location eventually limited the homeless to ‘a few meals a week.'”

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