Have you heard of Panera Cares? Well, it’s a “pay what you can” version of the popular chain eatery. They’ve been popping up in urban areas around the country, with the fourth location recently opening its doors in a relatively tiny suburb of Chicago.
But what started out as an altruistic act of corporate philanthropy is getting some heat from those customers who don’t want to mingle with those who can’t afford Panera.
According to CBS, the Chicago restaurant is attracting an “undesirable element;” so much so, that the local police have met with community leaders to discuss whether this is really a cause for safety concerns.
But it begs the larger question. Is this just another case of “not in my backyard?” Helping the homeless and underprivileged at arm’s length is one thing. Helping them so close to home apparently is another.