Manna from…. Panera Bread?

Have you seen this yet… Panera Bread has a non-profit arm that has moved into a St. Louis neighborhood offering “pay what you want/can afford” pricing. The menu is the same… except there is NO Price next to the items and you put your money into a donation jar/bucket. If you have the money the assumption is you will pay what the meal is worth or more, and if you are low on cash you can come and get you meal totally free… they plan on this becoming a trend in all major cities where Panera bread is currently operating!

See USA today news article here

So what do you think? Is this is the gospel in action? Is Panera Bread running their business with a WWJD model? Regardless, I love Panera Bread the product already… after hearing about this story, I love Panera Bread the Philosophy! I certainly plan on continuing my patronage, and increasing my advertisement of the best bread company in town!



5 thoughts on “Manna from…. Panera Bread?

  1. I love Panera’s bread and their lunch sandwiches! We actually use their Sour Dough bowl as our communion bread at church. Unfortunately, their latte’s disagree with my stomach and on numerous occasions I have been able to appreciate their excellent restroom facilities at length.

    I think their idea is great and helpful, but I also think humans are sinful and selfish and I expect this promotion to be taken advantage of by people who lack integrity. I would be surprised if it worked well enough to copy in other cities.

    1. Bread Bowls for communion… brilliant!

      They say the donations just need to cover the food, and the cost to run the operation will be left to the Non For Profit Arm. So if they can cover the food with the donations, everyone will have a job and the lights will stay on and food will be given for less or for free in more cities than just St. Louis…

      Let’s hope that no one group takes advantage of the situation and spoils the whole idea!

  2. It sounds like they set it up to strongly discourage people from taking advantage. I doubt they would allow a group of teens to come “bustin up” in there and eat for free. If we ate there and the bill would have been like $17 I would probably leave a $20. It just might work…
    Related story: We went to Jason’s Deli to get some icecream. We asked what it would cost. He said it’s free. We explained that we hadn’t eaten a meal there. He said that’s ok, at least you asked first…

    1. I think it can work too… it’s guys like you that would drop $20 in the bucket that will make up for the person who really can’t afford the $20 and puts $10 in… and I think someone totally taking advantage will only do it once, because of the shame of being labelled (figuratively) as the cheap shameless guy/girl just taking advantage of the situation.

      Ultimately, I like the fact that Panera Bread is choosing to put faith in the people to do the right thing and not “work” the system. Because in the end, it is really up to us to determine what kind of place we want to live in, and not the governments regulation of our conscience! Each community will determine weather Panera Bread will be able to continue with this kind of venture. If we realize the call of the gospel is be the solution for others who have need, then the Panera Bread Challenge just might work. If people take advantage of the system then it will not work, but neither would that person be welcome in a community like the Christians in Acts 2 where they shared with each other so nobody was in need of anything. I assure you there was no taking advantage of in this community because when your sharing things you have the right to call someone out for taking advantage.

      Imagine getting out of your 2002 Toyota Camry and walking into Panera Bread with your wife and 2 kids, you parked next to a guy who just got out of his brand new Chevy Camero with racing stripes… he’s in line before you and doesn’t pay a cent, with an arrogant look on his face as he sprints off in his new Nike Air Jordan’s, designer jeans, and affliction T-shirt. Do you have the right to call the guy out and ask him to reconsider dropping some cash into the bucket? Most would say no because what he does with his money is up to him… but I think we have an obligation to point out that if he has the coin to drop $60-80 on a shirt, $150 on shoes, $100 on some jeans, and still has enough cash to buy a brand new car… maybe he can spring $5 for the meal… I’m not saying we judge his character, I’m suggesting we point this scenario out to him and ask him to reconsider… in love and with respect because maybe just maybe he doesn’t see the error in his outlook on this blessing from Panera Bread. If we share the benefits of the Panera Bread experience, then we should also share the burden.


      1. “If people take advantage of the system then it will not work,”
        Which is EXACTLY why the government “system” is not working right now.
        “I like the fact that Panera Bread is choosing to put faith in the people to do the right thing”
        People on a whole are good. Just get out of their way. Panera said revenues increased when they switched over to donations. Will it maintain? Who knows… but I believe the majority of people are honest, hardworking, and willing to help a brotha out. The camaro jerk will only do it once because people in groups have a tendency to band together and prevent that type of behavior. The free meal won’t be worth the ridicule.

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