It's interesting to see Libs crushed that their alternatives to the market model (capitalism) fail every time. Panera Bread founder
Shaich opened 4 "pay what you will" restaurants in major cities, and the last was closed after failing to cover 70% of costs.
On the opening of Panera Cares, Panera founder Shaich said, “In many ways, this whole experiment is ultimately a test of humanity,”...
Ron Shaich, who pitched the possibility of having suggested donation amounts for customer purchases rather than fixed prices and would only pay what they could or wanted to for food items.
The nonprofit was not financially viable, and one by one locations closed across the nation due to the flimsy and unsustainable business model. Reportedly, the Portland location had only been returning 60 percent to 70 percent of its overall cost.
The steep losses were pinned on students who would come in large groups and eat without paying, as well as homeless people who would sometimes eat there for every meal without paying.
Neighbors to the Portland location noticed a spike in crime and loitering in the area. It was eventually necessary to limit homeless people’s meals to only a few meals a week. The local manager, Dave Hardin, had to explain to those homeless who frequented the restaurant that “we’re not a soup kitchen,” and that “we’re only one piece of the puzzle.”
Panera Bread is a very successful company and their regular restaurants make a lot of money. I guess they've learned now that people value free stuff as worthless and take advantage of the situation.
Added story: I co-developed a software program and my partner in Australia wanted to use the donation model with the new software. I warned him that no one would pay, they would just take it for free; but because he was the main programmer and held the rights to the program, he went ahead with it on version 1.0. In 6 months, 100,000 people downloaded the program and only 1 person of all those sent in a few bucks.
Needless to say, my partner was quickly dissuaded from his donation model. We went on to develop the program much more and made it a regular purchase software program. That was very successful commercially and sold $2 million over 10 years (modest success in money but very satisfying niche program). People accord something as having value and worth if they pay for it; while almost all of those who got it for free in the first 6 months never even bothered to take the effort to learn the program usage, because it was free.