Panera Pay-What-You-Want Turkey Chili Breaks New Ground In Humanitarianism [REPORT]

By iScience Times Staff Reporter on March 27, 2013 6:06 PM EDT

Panera
Panera is testing a pay-what-you-want Turkey Chili in a Bread Bowl promotion at 48 locations near St. Louis and in the city. Proceeds are set to be distributed through agencies that help fight hunger in the St. Louis area. (Photo: facebook.com / panera)

Panera, the beloved sandwich and soup maker, is a staple of the St. Louis area. In fact, if you visit a Panera in the St. Louis area, it won't actually be called Panera. Instead, it will be called St. Louis Bread Company. Now, St. Louis-area sandwich- and soup-eaters get an even better perk for eating at Panera. The company has just introduced a new pay-what-you-want pricing promotion for its chili.

Panera's pay-what-you-want chili is, sadly, only available in the St. Louis-area. The idea is being pushed out just three years after Panera launched its first of five pay-what-you-want cafes in St. Louis. The new promotion is just a trail test to see how such a promotion will affect sales. Panera is rolling out pay-what-you-want pricing on it chili in 48 different locations near St. Louis and in the city.

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Panera's pay-what-you-want pricing is only available on the Turkey Chili in a Bread Bowl. The item is new on Panera menus and includes all-natural, antibiotic-free turkey that's mixed with a hearty vegetable and bean stew. The turkey chili is served in a bread bowl, something that's become a signature of Panera over time. The suggested price of the famous Panera pay-what-you-want Turkey Chili in a Bread Bowl is $5.89 (with tax), though the store will literally accept any donation as small as a penny.

The Panera pay-what-you-want pricing model has been called a "meal of shared responsibility" by Panera. Assuming that Panera is able to make its money back on the promotion, the proceeds therafter will be donated to a variety of St. Louis-area hunger initiatives. Panera hopes to cover the cost of meals for the thousands that go hungry every day in the St. Louis area. For those that are in need, the meal includes 850 calories of nutrition according to the Associated Press.

"We felt like they were really doing a lot of good and helping people who were in need. They were elevating the discussion about food insecurity, providing a vehicle for people to help one another in these communities," Kate Antonacci, director of societal-impact initiatives for Panera, said in a Riverfront Times report.

"They were doing a lot of good, but we stepped back, and it's five cafes, five communities -- is there not a way that we can take the spirit of Panera Cares, this idea of offering people a hand-up, instilling this idea of paying it forward to your neighbor, is there not a way we can do that across our whole system?" she added.

This isn't the first time that a restaurant brand has devoted itself to fighting hunger. Other famous restaurants such as Salt Lake City's One World Everybody Eats also used a pay-what-you-want pricing model in the past. Restaurants such as New Orleans' Café Reconcile have, alternatively, tackled other issues that face urban environments such as unemployment.

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