Panera Cares!


Panera (Photo credit: joeventures)

I’ve long enjoyed Panera Bread cafes.   It has always seemed that any Panera Bread I visit gives the same friendly, efficient service, along with free wi-fi, good food and warm atmosphere.

When it became necessary for me to move about with my big/little service dog Panera was one of the places that helped boost my confidence by their knowledgeable, cheerful acceptance of my little helper.

Now I have another reason to frequent Panera: Panera Cares, Pay-As-You-Can cafes in three locations: Portland, OR; Dearborn, MI; and Clayton, MO.

Panera Cares locations are run by a 501c3 nonprofit foundation (the Panera Bread Foundation). Patrons order from the same menu as at the profit-run Panera stores. Their total is tallied, but then things change. The amount one is told is a suggested donation. Money is placed in a hopper, rather than given to the cashier. If one doesn’t have the full amount, then one pays what one can – even $0.00. One can pay with credit card, but the amount to be put on the card is the amount the patron tells the cashier to run. Patrons also have the options of paying the suggested amount or more than suggested.

If a person wants to become more involved at a Panera Cares location there are volunteer jobs available. News reports regarding Panera Cares state that some people have asked to exchange volunteer work for the meals they get and have gone on from there to find their way back into paid employment status (elsewhere).

It is also reported that the Panera Cares locations have been able to stay in business – taking in more than they spend on food and wages. All monies over operating expenses are turned back into job skills and other work programs for at-risk youth.

For a quick look at how it works, please watch this short video done by television station KATU.


4 thoughts on “Panera Cares!

  1. The only time I have eaten Panera food was one time when some friends brought bagels. They were so good, I would like to actually go in a building some time!

    What happened to doing the “A is for…”? Just wondering…

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