Panara Bread Co. opens “pay what you can” store in St. Louis

Panera Bread Co. has reopened a downtown Clayton location as a nonprofit where customers can pay what they can afford. […]

The café, which reopened Sunday as a nonprofit, has cashiers who provide receipts with suggested prices and direct customers to the store’s five donation boxes. The menu is the same, except for the day-old baked goods brought in from sister stores in the area.

The first day was a success, and they’re planning on opening similar locations elsewhere in the country, but won’t say where yet.

St. Louis Business Journal: Panera: Pay what you can afford

(Thanks Josh!)

See also: What the Bagel Man Saw – an article on the economics of the “honor system.”


  1. Interesting choice to open a “pay what you can afford” location in Clayton, one of the most wealthy business districts in St. Louis County. (I’m originally from STL.) The parking alone will cost you a pretty penny.

    Now if they were to open a store in downtown or East St. Louis, that would be interesting….

  2. A friend of mine on Twitter pointed that out, but mentioned that it’s near the county court and jail:

    (According to the Bagel Man, the wealthy are the most like to cheat “honor systems,” but it’s probably different if someone’s watching them.

  3. Interesting points. I may have to go back to visit just to stop by and check it out.

  4. Small bands who make music for fun and big bands who have already made their money can give it away – most bands are in the middle. Small co-ops with ideologies to spread and big businesses that have already made their money can give it away – most businesses are in the middle. Means and and motives vary at the small end, but philanthropy at the big end comes from success in economic competition or political power. Free NIN, free Radiohead and free bagles come from capitalism. Enlarging the option for that middle to share remains a worthy goal. Or is it the middle keeping both ends numerically small?

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