CBS 2 Chicago wbbm7801059 670 The Score


Walter’s Perspective: New Panera Caters To All Income Levels

Walter Jacobson

Walter Jacobson (CBS)

Get Breaking News First

Receive News, Politics, and Entertainment Headlines Each Morning.
Sign Up
Don't Miss This

CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s not often in the news there’s a good story to tell, so it’s good to have one, like the story you may have heard about the Panera Café in Chicago in the Lakeview neighborhood -– charging for sandwiches no more that its customers can afford to pay.

What’s that all about? A business in one of the capitalism capitols of the world, catering to customers who can’t afford to buy a chicken sandwich priced at $6.99, a hungry person who’s out of a job and has in her pocket only $1.99 or no money?

No problem. Just pay what you can, because the next customer has hundreds in her pocket and can pay -– and will be happy to pay — $10 or $12.99.

That’s Lakeview, an unusual neighborhood of million-dollar homes and the homeless. No money for a sandwich? That’s OK.

Want to volunteer to help for an hour? That’d be nice. If not, that’s OK, too. The cafe is not-for-profit. The money it makes it donates to job-training programs for young people, whom the café then hires.

I can’t imagine a story much better than that, for everybody.