Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pay-What-You-Can Restaurant Didn’t Work

Portland, Oregon – It turns out that the down-and-out in Portland like to eat free food and linger. For hours on end. While the point of the eatery is to help people out, the experiment was never intended as a homeless shelter. The business model depends on attracting customers who will pay retail for their meals, and some who will pay a little extra. There’s a difference between a restaurant with a diverse clientele and a day shelter with paintings of bread on the walls, and the restaurant began to resemble the latter. “We had to help them understand that this is a café of shared responsibility and not a handout,” Panera founder Ron Shaich said. “It can’t serve as a shelter and we can’t have community organizations sending everybody down.”  more  

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