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“Nobody thought this could be done. I love figuring it out and seeing how it could work,” Shaich said in a recent interview at the 3 Center Plaza cafe. “It’s a powerful study of humanity — will people do the right thing?”
So far, at other cafes people are doing just that. The nonprofit restaurants bring in 70 to 75 percent of the retail value of the food served, said Kate Antonacci, project manager of Panera Cares, which is run by Panera Bread Foundation, a charitable organization.
To achieve that, it’s estimated 60 percent of patrons give the suggested donation (the full price charged for food at other Paneras), roughly 20 percent offer more money, and another 20 percent leave less, or nothing at all.