Archive for November 21st, 2010

Eat What You What, Pay What You Can in Dearborn

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Switch is Official: Panera Cares in Dearborn Opens Today, Nov. 21

Eat what you want, pay what you can at Dearborn's Panera Cares, located at Michigan and Howard.

Dearborn’s Panera Bread officially switches to Panera Cares today, a non-profit restaurant where customers pay what they wish for their order.

We wrote about this switch earlier in the week (see that story HERE.). Dearborn becomes the second store that we know of to go to this new business model. The first opened in Clayton, Mo., earlier this year.

Readers of this site seem to be tracking neutral to negative with this change, questioning the wisdom, the people it may attract and what it will do to other businesses who can’t afford to give away their product for discount prices or even free.

Interesting that our Dearborn store is sandwiched between a Panera Bread in Dearborn Heights on Ford Road and another in Allen Park atop of landfill mountain. Kind of feels like the Panera corporate folks are hedging bets with this experiment in Dearborn.

Two employees of the Dearborn store say the same experience Panera Bread offered patrons will continue with the switch to Panera Cares.

Here is what an employee by the name of April Kersey and Rachel Sleger posted in our comments section (the typos and misspelled words are not ours):

April Kersey says:

Okay, I work at the panera cares in Dearborn Mi. We open tomarrow and we are on fire for the switch. This switch means nothing but great things for the community! The fereshly baked yesterday goods are only in the bakery section and taste exactly the same, dont belive us, let us give you a sample. We want you to taste our product before you donate for it. Our store is still held to the same standards. We only give product to our customers what is quality! The bread that your sandwhichs are on is freash baked daily and the food is all the same. We enocurage those with the means to pay at least suggested donation level, to do so and if you cant, well thats okay too. thats what we are here for. its not a hand out its a hand up. We open tomarrow – Sunday. Come see us. We’ll show you what were all about.

Rachel Sleger says:

I am also a worker at the Panera Cares in Dearborn, MI. This is something that is great and exciting! Everyone should be happy for this change because that’s exactly what we are doing…we are making a change. We are helping others who are in need and also still here for those regular customers that come in every morning to order their bagel with cream cheese and coffee before work. Panera is all about warmth. We want everyone to feel welcome. As April stated above, if you are at all concerned about the quality of our bakery items or cafe items everyone in the bakery cafe is more than willing to open their arms and answer any questions or hand out samples to ensure our product tastes no different. Our sandwiches are made on baked fresh daily bread along with the baguettes we serve as a side with any entree. The product is to the same standards as before. Our bakery section is baked fresh yesterday items. Our grand reopening is tomorrow Sunday, November 21! We encourage everyone to stop in to learn a bit more of what we are about and support our non-profit community cafe.


The two employees make a valid point. Before anyone writes off the switch, we should at least drop in once and try it.