Panera Cares, which would be Boston's first suggested donation restaurant, is aiming for a January opening downtown at Center Plaza, says the Globe and the Boston Business Journal. The nonprofit arm of the Starbucks of bread doesn't charge for meals and instead asks patrons to leave donations in bins.
The idea is that people who can afford to pay full price (or more) still will while those in need have access to a free, or reduced cost, meal. An FAQ on the official website anticipates what may be your first question, asking "How Are These Cafes Doing?" According to the answer, last year cafes like the one bound for Boston served 500,000 customers, earning about two thirds of the retail value a normal Panera would bring in, which makes them think that 60% do leave the actual suggested donation, 15% to 20% leave even more, and the remaining 15% to 20% leave less or nothing. The Boston location will join four that already operate in St. Louis, Michigan, Portland, OR and Chicago.
· Panera Cares, nonprofit outpost of chain, to open soon [BG]
· Panera's pay-what-you-can cafe is coming to Boston soon [BBJ]
· Panera Cares [Official Site]
· All coverage of Panera Cares on Eater [~EBOS~]
[Photo: A Panera Cares, Flickr/cafemama]