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Panera’s Nonprofit Arm- Pay What You Can Afford

Panera Bread Co.I recently read a great article in the Boston Globe about the Panera Bread Co. and their new nonprofit sector that is helping those who are less fortunate and might not be able to eat otherwise (see the article here).  Basically what they’re doing is making so patrons to the store, which is located at 3 Center Plaza, can order food from the counter like they regularly would- but instead of being asked to pay a set amount the visitors are literally asked to pay what they can!  It really lifts my spirits to see such a large company such as Panera Bread Co. going out on a limb and risking profits to help support the greater good.

Thank about this.  You’re a family of four and have come across hard times, for whatever reason: you’re out a job, the economy, demons, etc.  Keep in mind now, that food is expensive!  If you eat out in a city on a regular basis it’s very easy to spend upwards of $300 a week just on lunch!  What Panera is doing is making it so that those who need a little bit of help right now, can actually get it.  This store is set up like this so much that they don’t even have cash registers in the store!

One of the amazing things here is that those who can afford it, usually pay more than the recommended donation.  The first week that they were in existence, the project manager had this to say, “For the first week or so, we get total donations above retail value, between 105 and 106 percent”.  This, to me, is absolutely incredible!  The people that can afford it are helping out those who can’t by paying a little bit extra.

I think that Panera is really onto something with this great nonprofit store.  Hopefully we will see some more of these crop up in other parts of the country, and even more hopefully, there will be other organizations that will join Panera in this extremely humanitarian venture.

-Bevans Branham

About Bevans Branham: Lorie and Bevans Branham continue in their daily dedication to the creation and development of highly innovative select projects and initiatives in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors, concerned primarily with personal well being and life enhancement in an extreme society. Bevans Branham remains committed to persevering, celebrating and exploring an ever-expanding life journey, from success to significance – embracing the reality of the possibilities of what is, and can be, for us all.