ST. LOUIS (AP) - Panera Bread's latest pay-what-you-can experiment will be retooled and brought back next winter as a seasonal offering.
The Meal of Shared Responsibility was pulled Wednesday.
Since March, Panera had offered a single menu item, Turkey Chili in a Bread Bowl, at its 48 St. Louis-area restaurants.
Customers set their own price.
The idea was that the needy could get a nutritious meal for whatever they could pay; those paying above cost make up the difference.
Panera founder Ron Shaich told The Associated Press that too few needy people were participating, in part because most Panera locations are in middle-class and affluent areas.
And after initial publicity and marketing, awareness dropped off.
Shaich believes a better plan is to offer the program for short periods, when in-store marketing can remain focused.
Three years after launching the first of five pay-what-you-want cafes, the St. Louis County-based chain will begin offering one pay-what-you-want dish in each of it's 48 restaurants. The experimental "Meal of Shared Responsibility" is Turkey Chili in a Bread Bowl.
The suggested price is $5.89, including tax. When someone pays more than that, the extra amount goes to cover the cost for customers who can't pay full price and to St. Louis-area hunger initiatives.
The new program begins Wednesday.