90 Miles From Tyranny : Panera Bread’s ‘pay what you can’ socialist program ends in abject failure as freeloaders cause stores to go broke

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Panera Bread’s ‘pay what you can’ socialist program ends in abject failure as freeloaders cause stores to go broke

In another example proving that socialist economic models don’t work, Panera Bread is closing the last store that was part of the chain’s socialist “pay what you can” program because they’ve all become financially unsustainable.

The chain announced this week that it would be closing its Boston store Feb. 15 after it, too, failed to turn a profit. In fact, it wasn’t even close.

On Tuesday, Eater reported that none of the restaurant’s five “non-profit” locations was able to generate sufficient revenue to remain open.

The program was called “Panera Cares,” and it was designed to serve food to low-income people when it was launched nine years ago. The ‘pay-what-you-want’ business model allowed patrons visiting the locations to eat for a donation — or not.

In 2010 when the program was launched Ron Shaich, Panera founder and CEO, said it was to serve as a “test of humanity.”

“Would people pay for it?” he asked during a TEDxStLouis talk. “Would people come in and value it?”

Judging by the closure of all five locations, the answer would have to be a resounding “no.”

The retail chain also noted that throughout the nine-year existence of the program, Panera Cares locations were “mobbed” by homeless people and students, all of whom ate without donating a penny. In fact, because of the existence of a “mob,” one of the locations was forced to limit homeless people to just a few meals every week.

“The Portland-based Panera Cares was reportedly only recouping between 60 and 70 percent of its total costs,” Eater’s Brenna Houck wrote. “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...

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  1. Let me get this straight. As a Panera customer I'm paying for a product I want yet they're giving it away free to non customers? Then it has zero value! Are they stupid? If they don't put a value on their product then it has no value. They basically put up a sign saying "Free Food" and were surprised when people came in and ate for free? Sometimes I wonder how these people exist in business.

    I was in the restaurant/bar business for 37 years. On the bottom of my menus I had: "No deserving poor refused". I figured I was in the food business and I should help others. EXCEPT I determined who was "deserving".

  2. This was utterly predictable. And, I am sure, predicted.

    Yet I have zero doubt somewhere, someone will try this again.

    (I read about a bakery in... IIRC Saudi Arabia... where they have a "pay what you want" policy. Apparently it works - but that's because, while I disagree with the specific religion, the Saudis are a religious people in general.)

  3. They should open a bank where you can withdraw what you need, no account necessary.

  4. This straw man attack on socialism was a big success.


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