Are you struggling to afford a healthy meal or know someone who may be? Well, Panera Bread (PNRA) has just brought a heart warming solution to Boston. Just as of January 23rd of this year, Panera opened another store in the city located in Government Center at 3 Center Plaza. What separates this store from the rest is that they are implementing their growing success of a program known as Panera Cares, which is where ...community cafes exist to feed each and every person who walks through our doors with dignity regardless of their means.
This revolutionary cafe is one that allows the customer to pay more than the priced amount for a product, all of the charge, a portion of it, or even nothing if they truly do not have the ability to contribute. It is not all about the money, however. Individuals at the other Panera Cares Cafes, which are also located in Portland, St. Louis, Detroit, and Chicago, often pay in flowers to decorate the restaurant, drawings, poems, and much more.
Ron Shaich, the Founder, Chairman and co-CEO of Panera Bread and President of the Panera Bread Foundation knows the true meaning of this mission goes far beyond dollars and cents. We are thrilled to be opening a Panera Cares cafe here at home. I have lived in the Boston area for over 30 years and opened my first restaurant at Downtown Crossing, just blocks from our new Panera Cares location. We have thousands of Panera team members living and working in the area. We are part of this community and have a vested interest in addressing the very real problem of food insecurity that many of our neighbors deal with.
This new Boston location has received a great deal of attention as of late. In fact, the first day saw the store bring in 109% of the total priced retail value in roughly 700 transactions. Clearly, many individuals who are willing and able to pay for their purchased products are more than supporting this cause for the long-term by making it affordable and even profitable for Panera to continue this generous service. Despite this, the other Panera Cares stores Nationwide typically bring in 75% of the total given prices for the products they serve, but to Mr. Shaich and his team, this loss is more than worth the underlying goal.
Customers can even volunteer and literally do anything they can to work together to provide some sort of thanks and appreciation towards Panera, as Shaich continues, Its important that we find ways for the community to support our Panera Cares cafe, even if someone is unable to do so monetarily. Thats the purpose of our volunteer program. A customer can help perform basic front-of-the-house roles (like cleaning tables, sweeping, etc.) for one hour and receive a meal voucher at the end of that hour. Its a way to add to the dignity of the experience while still encouraging people to contribute to our mission through their time. Regardless of what you are able to give back, we encourage you all to visit this new location for Panera in Government Center. These efforts not only will raise needed awareness regarding hunger, but will also allow individuals to gain an insight into this unique way of carrying out a business model while still giving back to the community who are facing food insecurity; the reality for one in nine residents of Eastern Massachusetts.
More Information: Panera Cares