What would you do if a restaurant gave you the option to pay the price you wanted? Panera experimented with a “set your own price” model and found the honor system works.
Why open a set your own price restaurant? Panera started the non-profit arm as another method of philanthropy. Due to the success of the pilot two more sites will be opening this year. Their spokesperson noted that if the experiment needs to be self-sufficient.
Most people (up to 85%) will pay the suggested price or even more. Only 15% pay less or nothing. Middle and upper class patrons pay their own way (and more) offsetting those that can’t afford to.
The author, Christopher Leonard, quoted a patron who can not afford to dine out with their only income from disability payments. For Anna Ward to “…eat an actual meal and feel full is such a blessing”.
Freeloaders are hopefully influenced by posted signs reminding patrons about the honor system and an employee explains the concept as they walk in.
Location is a major factor in this statistic. The non-profit arm selected an upscale area that can be accessed easily by lower-income patrons.
I’m wondering if it is successful because of the region and attributes of its residents.
Would this work in New York City or San Francisco? I sure hope so for people like Anna Ward.
What do you think about this concept? Would it be successful in your area?
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