#CMweekly: Panera Cares

Company: Panera Bread
Cause: Hunger
Partner: Panera Cares and participating local charities
Website: www.paneracares.org

Program of Action
The famous sandwich and coffee café Panera Bread is partnering with their business Panera Cares, a nonprofit version of the national chain, to help communities and raise awareness about middle-class food insecurity. The concept of Panera Cares, “pay what you want,” allows customers to donate as much as they can or less for a meal or beverage at the café. The money Panera Cares stores make pay for the operations of the business with any additional profits going towards local community charities.

Panera Cares stores are only located in certain cities including Chicago, Missouri, Michigan, and Oregon. At each one of these stores, customers can drop in their change in donation boxes that are placed where cash registers would originally be. The company launched Panera Cares in 2010 with the plan to open one in every community Panera Bread is located.

Best Practices
With Panera Cares, Panera Bread axed all the tools (web sites, computers, social networks, etc.) to launch and build its cause efforts. We give 3 reasons why we hope to see this cause initiative live on.

Raise value. Instead of launching a short-term campaign to raise awareness about its focused cause, food insecurity, Panera Bread creates an initiative that produces a long-lasting value to local communities, consumers, and business. The launch of Panera Cares leverages its core business skills and will pervade everything the company does in its CSR efforts.

Stick to the basics. Though, donation boxes may not always bring in the most impact, in this case it certainly does. Panera Bread keeps it simple with consumer cash donations, which can inspire customers to give immediately since it’s an approach easy to understand and makes a local impact.

Support local causes. Panera Bread did its research and opened the model café in four locations residents are food insecure – this need will ensure Panera Cares makes an impact in those communities. Keeping the initiative local provides the company a special way to drive, view, and increase success.

In addition, Panera Bread created a section on its designated site for customers to learn more about the mission of Panera Cares. Individuals can read FAQ’s that provide how Panera Cafes work, tangible results, ensure where donations go and volunteer options.

Program Outcome
So far, Panera Cares has been a success in the participating communities. According to statistics, the majority of customers donate the suggested amount, 20% leave more, and another 20% leave less. With the plan to open more Panera Cares locations, we encourage you support the company and communities struggling for food. Visit your local Panera Cares or donate online at www.paneracares.org and help raise awareness about food insecurity.

Your CM Aficionado,


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