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Panera Bread goes all Radiohead on us

According to an AP article, Panera Bread is trying out a pay-what-you-want store. Its run by a non-profit, and you are asked to pay what you can. The motto: “Take what you need, leave your fair share.”

Panera was already high up on my list — the sort of place where I find myself saying, “For a chain store, its really not bad.” It just rose a little higher.

7 Responses to “Panera Bread goes all Radiohead on us”

  1. Hmm…interesting. I’m curious to see how that’ll work out.

    Panera’s pretty low on my list due to their Internet policies: 30 minutes, regardless how busy the store actually is, and heavy filtering that goes beyond “safety for children.” On the former point, I see some of the merits of it, but then why create such a comfortable space and allow people who aren’t using the Internet to hang out all day and read, while punishing those who want to get online?

  2. […] Joho the Blog » Panera Bread goes all Radiohead on us […]

  3. Well, their coffee is pretty good. (I’ve never tried the Net there.)

  4. “from each according to ability, to each according to need”

    I hear Marx giggling from beyond his grave when seeing Panera business model…

    BTW, maybe this would be a better motto for Panera?
    (If they take it — I must be credited :-) )

    But, joking aside, if one looks deeper into this model, and has in mind other, mostly virtual business models, and goes into the future, far future …. then, My G-d — maybe by making some long historic detour the western civilisation will land, where Marx wanted it to be …???

    I’m not sure if it is good or bad. I would rather say … BAD !!!!!!!

  5. Joho the Blog » Panera Bread goes all Radiohead on us…

    Joho the Blog » Panera Bread goes all Radiohead on us…

  6. I was just talking with my colleague Richard C. Adler a few days ago about the problem of homogenous pricing and its consequences for an economy.

    “You” end up paying what someone who REALLY wants something would be willing to pay for it (witness eBay).

    Really we should all pay an exchange value that is at least CLOSE TO the use value of the item for ourselves (and yes those are in Marx).

    The trick is: How do you get those who value the item more to actually PAY MORE instead of taking the lower cost that is available to others. In other words, are people honest?

    I think people are basically good, but that it’s hard to get them to behave that way in a system that compels them to behave otherwise. As long as the money they save by “cheating” could be spent elsewhere, then global economic collapse will drive them to “cheat.”

    Panera has a good idea, but it’s the whole network that has to change, not just one vendor. I hope this is a beginning and not a failure :-/

  7. I don’t think the “name your own price strategy” can work for the whole network. It works for Panera because they have an established brand so consumers don’t equate the offering as a free trial. If a new restaurant tried this, consumers would not be willing to pay full retail price because there’s the risk they won’t like it.

    It works for Panera because they reduce costs by using day old bread from other stores and surround their national brand with positive buzz by allowing customers to name their own price.

    Other companies thinking about employing a “name your own price” strategy have many things to consider. Here are the three best tactics for companies considering a “name your own price” strategy.

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