I think the strategy is interesting. I wonder how the results would change if payment was completely anonymous. No face to face contact with an employee to make change or process the credit card payment. I think Panera is well aware that MOST people who visit their stores would not want to appear to be cheap or dishonest in front of another person. What do you think? Would people, on average, be just as honest or would those percentages flip---only 20% would pay the suggested prices and 80% would pay less?
: USA Today
""USA Today -- "A Pay-what-you-want Panera in Clayton, MO is being called a success. The menu board lists "suggested funding levels," not prices. Payments go into a donation box, though the cashiers provide change and handle credit card payments.
The majority of patrons pay the "suggested funding level" or more. Statistics provided by Panera indicate that roughly 60% leave the suggested amount; 20% leave more; and 20% less. One person paid $500 for a meal, the largest single payment." Source: