Paneras in Utopias?

19 May

In a perfect world, what an awesome idea is this? New Panera location says pay what you want. The chain opened a new location in Clayton, MO that has vowed to throw the price tag out the window. They encourage customers to pay what they wish. It’s sort of like the idea of ‘take a penny, leave a penny’ only on a much larger scale. What a brave move, ehh? While I sincerely believe that there are many generous people in the world, I also know for a fact how stingy and unfair others can be. I honestly do not see this plan panning out for Panera, although I hope it does! So many restaurants in the U.S. get away with highway robbery because their prices are already ridiculously high. In American culture, I think it’s safe to say that eating is a social event. Any time we haven’t seen our friends in awhile, we meet up for dinner or when someone dies we show our sympathy by cooking up a nice, big fatty meal. We use food as a vehicle to connecting with others and this is why our restaurants can charge whatever they wish. They know we’ll probably keep coming back for more! In other words, I commend Panera for giving this a whirl because it really is a bold move. Maybe it will work. Just going through the drive-thru at Starbucks and pulling up to the window to learn that someone already paid for mine is enough hope for me to actually think this plan could work. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see. Until then, cheers to Panera! Just my two cents for the day.

What do you guys think about all this?

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3 Responses to “Paneras in Utopias?”

  1. louise barnes May 19, 2010 at 4:49 pm #

    I hadn’t heard about this, but I hope it works. I wish I could let people pay what they think insurance is worth, but the “law won’t let them”….Panera is a good company. I hope it’s a concept that works.

  2. carissa May 19, 2010 at 9:16 pm #

    I really hope it works too! I heard a while back (I think on This American Life) that some restaurant in New York or somewhere had been doing this for a while and it worked pretty well. I think some people will pay more or go just to pay more to make up for those who don’t. Also? I love Panera. I’m addicted to their black bean soup. I’d pay 8 bucks for what would cost me 50 cents at home!

  3. Jenn May 20, 2010 at 7:54 am #

    I think it would work out but only in wealthy areas. If people have a surplus of money they are more apt to give more or at least the suggested amount. Where as those in poorer areas would probably not pay anywhere close to the suggested amount. I think it has the potential for success though if placed in wealthy areas only. If I stumbled into the store I would pay the suggested value. Where they could run into a problem area is in having people from surrounding poorer areas going in and paying a minimal amount. It’s a great idea though. we shall see.

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