The Panera restaurant chain tried to create a socialist system in which meals were offered at a suggested donation price. That means some people would pay more while others would pay less based on what they felt like or could afford.
By not simply offering food at a low price, like MacDonalds, Burger King and the rest, Panera completely removed any incentive for patrons to meet even the lowest standards of consumer/retailer exchange. The result was some people paid their fair share while others enjoyed a "free lunch."
Upon opening the first Panera Cares in 2010, the company founder Ron Shaich said the cafe was designed as a quasi-test on human sensibility to raise awareness about food insecurity.
"In many ways, this whole experiment is ultimately a test of humanity. Would people pay for it? Would people come in and value it?"
Panera Cares went on to open five locations in Dearborn, Portland, Chicago, Boston, and St. Louis. None of the restaurants were self-sustaining, with some locations reportedly being "mobbed" by students along with homeless people looking for a free meal.
"The Portland-based Panera Cares was reportedly only recouping between 60 and 70 percent of its total costs. The losses were attributed to students who 'mobbed' the restaurant and ate without paying, as well as homeless patrons who visited the restaurant for every meal of the week. The location eventually limited the homeless to 'a few meals a week.'"
Since 2016, the Panera Cares locations have been closing down one-by-one. The last remaining shop in Boston will be closing in just 10 days. After Panera was sold to private equity firm JAB Holding Company, Shaich stepped down (they fired his ass!) as CEO in 2017.
This experiment in socialism demonstrates the fallacy of socialism. There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.
Posted by Paul Bois on February 6, 2019