Friday, May 21

Panera's New Concept

Not sure if this is a new concept restaurant, or a new concept in cause-related marketing. Either way, I find it fascinating. I don't know that I totally get the economics, but I love the concept.

Name your price for the food you buy ... pay what you want!

Panera Bread has launched a new restaurant where literally consumers come in and pay their own price. When consumers select their food choices, they are each given what the expected retail price would be, but then the consumer is left to decide if they pay that recommended price or something higher or even something lower.

How the heck does that work?

It's all for a great cause, not to pump profits into the company. A completely nonprofit restaurant, starting in a suburb of St. Louis, that the company hopes to expand. All proceeds go to the company's charitable foundation.

You can read about it here.

It's not a brand new idea as it turns out, but still a pretty compelling one. The foundation is obviously banking on the generousity of the human soul. Timing may be just right as we've seen a huge rise in cause-related marketing and participation at the consumer level. Despite, or maybe because of, the recession.

Will it work? As I said, I can't wrap my head around the economics but it sure will be interesting to follow.

What's your experience? Jim.

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