Panera Cafe Says "Pay What You Want"
With Hopes to Expand Nonprofit Restaurants Around U.S.

Panera Bread Co. in Clayton MO launced a new nonprofit store this week, offering the same menu as its other 1400 retail bakery and restaurant locations accross the U.S.

The big difference here is that there are no prices. Customers are asked to donate what they want for a meal, whether it's the full suggested price, a penny or $100.00.

The new store in the upscale St. Louis suburb of Clayton is the first of what Panera hopes will be many around the country. Ronald Shaich, Panera's CEO until last week, was on hand at the new bakery Monday to explain the system to customers.

The pilot restaurant is run by a nonprofit foundation. If it can sustain itself financially, Panera will expand the model around the country within months. It all depends on whether customers will abide by the motto that hangs above the deli counter: "Take what you need, leave your fair share."

While I'm on the subject, take a look at what's for breakfast at Panera. Their sandwiches have always been a huge favorite of mine, espeically at breakfast. All served on freshly baked Signature Bagels:

Jalapeno & Cheddar - Eggs, Vermont white cheddar and smoked ham, all grilled on Jalapeno & Cheddar bagel, YUM!

Sausage, Egg & Cheese - Eggs, Vermont White cheddar, sausage on signature bagel.

Bacon, Egg & Cheese - Eggs, Vermont white cheddar & Applewood-smoked bacon on bagel.

Asiago Bagel - Asiago cheese bagel, egg, Applewood-smoked bacon & Vermont white cheddar.

Egg & Cheese - Eggs, Vermont white cheddar on any signature bagel.

Whoe Grain Power Sandwich - Eggs, Vermont white cheddar & smoked, lean ham all grilled between two slices of freshly baked Whole Grain bread.

I love this concept and the effort here. I have faith that it will be a huge success. At least in Clayton MO. Not sure how it will work in other not so upscale areas. What do you think?


  1. Wow, pay what you want? Is this AMerica? Or What? This is awesome. I'm going to this place TODAY for a free sandwich. Okay, so I'll donate what I can and spread the word. You have a unique blog here and I think I love you. Matter of fact, I'd like to make a sandwich out of you! I'll bet you'd be deliciously tart and a little salty to eat. YUM YOU!

  2. I had not heard about this panera concept. Makes me think better of them if they keep it up! Good coverage Sandwich Wwoman! ;D

  3. Very hard to believe, but it's a great PR for Panera. However, I am afraid some customers may abuse it. Hopefully it will work.

    Btw, thanks for stopping by my blog. I enjoyed your blog too! I love sandwiches!

  4. I lived there for a year and half, and my son is going to college there, so I am passing this on. Glad to see you are still Sandwich 365!


My Word Verification is set to "NO" for your convenience. Please join me and turn yours off too, use Comment Moderation instead.