ST LOUIS - Panera Bread is expanding its non-profit "pay-as-you-go" Panera Cares cafÃ© concept as part of the quick-service chain€™s efforts to help feed the hungry.
Panera spokeswoman Kate Antonacci told the Associated Press last week that the new locations would be announced this spring. One cafe could open by summer, another in the fall and possibly a third later this year.
Panera Bread opened its third "pay-as-you-go" cafÃ© in January 2011 in Portland, Oregon. The two other restaurants in Clayton, Missouri, and Dearborn, Michigan, opened in 2010.
Antonacci noted that the only visible difference between Panera Cares and regular Panera restaurants are signs explaining the concept. Panera Cares lists a suggested price for menu items, but customers ultimately pay what they want. She told the AP at about 15% to 20% of customers pay more than the suggested retail price, and about the same percent pay less or nothing. She added that the cafÃ©s break about even.