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At least that’s what the company would have you believe. The bakery-style restaurant chain will be closing its last few donation-based locations, aptly named “Panera Cares,” after being unable to cover operating costs, according to the food news site Eater.
Panera - Cares - Boston - Feb - Nation
The last “Panera Cares” is scheduled to close in Boston on Feb. 15, according to the Nation’s Restaurant News.
The restaurant’s original concept was deceptively simple — menus would have no posted prices, instead offering a suggested donation amount. If able, visitors could pay that amount (or more) for their meal.
Means - Meal - Amount
Those without the means to do so were given the meal for free or at an amount they could pay.
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Version - Panera - Cares - Stipulations - Meals
An archived version of the Panera Cares website from 2012 has almost no stipulations about what meals could be taken, or how frequently customers could cash in on the charity of others.
If you think that sounds ripe for abuse, you’re not alone.
CBS - Chicago - October - Branch - Panera
As CBS 2 Chicago reported in October 2012, a local branch of Panera Cares seemed to inundate an area neighborhood with homeless people flocking to free restaurant food.
Longtime residents were understandably not happy with the crowds, trash, and the hit their property values took.
Panera - Project
Was the Panera project doomed to failure?
Poll - Tribune - News - Updates - Charge
It’s almost as if people respect something more if they’re financially invested in it.
Panera - Care
Perhaps that’s why Panera Care’s...
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