I’ve written before about Panera Cares Community Café, a concept Panera Bread implemented to help people feed themselves on what they can afford. This past Friday, June 22nd, Panera opened its fourth Panera Cares Community Café in Chicago.
For all the good intentions at the core of this program, new research recently reported in Scientific American indicates that “pay what you want” pricing models can leave consumers feeling cheap, and as a result steer them away from a purchase altogether.
On the surface, Panera—if aware of this new research—might question whether or not the potential negative effect to some will outweigh the positive effect to others. But is that really the question? The real question is whether or not Panera is a company that wants to give back. And Ronald Shaich, Panera’s founder, has answered that question by launching the concept and continuing to expand it.
There are always negative side effects that companies with well-intended programs must consider. But doing good for the community it serves is always a smart (and responsible) play for any service company.