All Articles Food The value of a pay-what-you-can concept

The value of a pay-what-you-can concept

2 min read


Our weekly reader poll in Restaurant SmartBrief — SmartPulse –  tracks feedback from restaurant owners and managers about trends and issues.

Would you consider a pay-what-you-can model for your restaurant?

  • Yes, it would fit in with my restaurant’s social responsibility initiatives — 2.33%
  • No, my restaurant probably would end up losing money — 80.23%
  • I’m not sure, that’s a big idea to take on — 17.44%

Looks like most of you have no intention of following in Panera’s footsteps. However, the chain’s pay-what-you-can concept is  considered pretty successful. The move has certainly been good for Panera in the media (see parenting blog The Stir’s post on how the chain’s charitable actions affected one mother’s decision to dine there), but it’s had other side effects as well. The Motley Fool’s Alyce Lomax says that the company’s altruistic actions have given the brand a “halo,” and writes “Panera could be a good investment that’s good for the world, too. That’s why it’s on my watchlist.”

Jon Bon Jovi hopes to emulate the chain’s success with his own restaurant, scheduled to open this summer in Red Bank, N.J., according to The Food Channel, which reports that pay-what-you-can concepts can be “lifesavers and pride-savers.”

Whether you’re hoping to inspire would-be investors, moms-on-the-go or just do something good for your community, it’s worth considering the value of a pay-what-you-can concept.