Business/Finance

Panera Bread plans more pay-what-you-want cafes

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Panera Bread is opening at least two more pay-what-you-want cafes as part of its effort to help feed the hungry in a dignified way.

Panera spokeswoman Kate Antonacci said Thursday that locations will be announced this spring. One cafe could open by summer, another in the fall and possibly a third later this year.

The concept is simple: Panera lists a suggested price for food, but customers pay what they want.

Antonacci says about 15 to 20 percent pay more, and about the same percent pay less or nothing. She says it's enough for the cafes to essentially break even.

St. Louis-based Panera has such cafés in suburban St. Louis; Portland, Ore.; and Dearborn, Mich.

The only visible difference between them and regular Panera restaurants are signs explaining the concept.

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