Panera has special locations that have "suggested donation" amounts instead of prices, or customers can volunteer an hour of their time for a free meal, in an effort to fight hunger.
They are called Panera Cares community cafes. Put simply, they were established to help fight the worsening hunger epidemic in the US. 15% of US households are hungry today- about 1 in 6. 1 in 4 children in the US (or 17 million kids) also don’t have enough to eat on a daily basis.
The Panera Cares cafes, which are nonprofit, are designed to make Panera accessible to everyone, including those who can’t afford it. There are no prices on the food there. Instead, there are “suggested donation” amounts for people who have money to donate to keep the cafe running. People can also donate an hour of their time in place of money.
The donation amounts are listed on the menu boards so that customers know what the price would be at a regular Panera, and obviously what they should generally pay. But people don’t have to pay to eat there, which is the whole point of the establishment. Those who can’t afford to pay can still have a free meal, all thanks to the generosity of others.