Episode 889: The Pay-What-You-Want Experiment : Planet Money In 2010, Panera launched several pay-what-you-want cafes. On today's show: We talk to Panera founder Ron Shaich about how this turned out.
NPR logo Episode 889: The Pay-What-You-Want Experiment

Episode 889: The Pay-What-You-Want Experiment

This Panera Cares store in Chicago switched from for-profit to non-profit, and it started asking customers to pay whatever they want. Niala Boodhoo/NPR hide caption

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Niala Boodhoo/NPR

This Panera Cares store in Chicago switched from for-profit to non-profit, and it started asking customers to pay whatever they want.

Niala Boodhoo/NPR

In 2010, Panera launched a series of non-profit cafes. These cafes were pretty much just like any other Panera, except that customers could choose what to pay for their food. The menu only listed "suggested prices." The hope was that generous people would help subsidize the meals of the needy, and the cafes would break even.

On today's show, an experiment in charity that goes right to the heart of human nature. It's a battle between our ethical concerns, and the way we actually spend our money.

Music: "Outside the Cage" and "Airport Blues."

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