Panera Bread’s new mandatory-cost-free cafe opened in Dearborn, Michigan, following on the heels of its St. Louis location.
At the new Panera Cares cafe, prices are donation-based meaning that there are only suggested costs for each meal and/or item on the menu.
Panera Bread is a restaurant chain that offers soups, salads, sandwiches, smoothies, coffee, tea, and baked goods among other items.
The company is known for using better-quality ingredients than most other cafe chains such as antibiotic-free chicken, chips made from natural ingredients including sunflower oil instead of genetically modified cottonseed or canola oil as most other chips are, and for serving apples as side items as opposed to french fries for example.
The new mandatory-cost-free donation-based Panera Cares cafe was opened in the Dearborn location because of its diverse population including many ethnic groups in the city from backgrounds ranging from Arab Americans to Armenians to African Americans, former Polish immigrant families and more. Dearborn has one of the most ethnically diverse communities in metro Detroit.
The metro Detroit area has also struggled financially in recent years and with a Detroit population caught in hard times just a few miles away, the new cafe could give residents a chance to enjoy a healthy meal that they wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to eat due to money restrictions.
The new donation-based, mandatory-cost-free cafe was created due to the success of the St. Louis location at which as many as 20 percent of people paid above the suggested cost of each item to make up for those who received a meal below cost.