Panera Bread


At the ripe age of sixteen I found myself sitting down in my local Panera Bread, staring back at me was the manager of the store with my work application in hand. This was the moment I had been waiting for since going to the movies or mall on a Friday night became necessities to have a social life, both of which required money I did not have. This was my first job ever and I was more than excited to start working and earning some spending money for myself. As I learned the ropes of being a register girl, a line chef and a dining room service attendant I also started to learn more about Panera Bread as an organization and that education continued as I entered college and talked about the community outreach programs that Panera Bread has enacted and participated in. The Operation Dough-Nation initiative, started in 1992, donates money and food to America’s poor through cash collection boxes and end of day bakery good donations. Panera Bread has made it their social mission to help feed America’s needy and even opened a “pay what you can” restaurant called Panera Cares. Cleary this company has made it apart of their company goals to be socially responsible and give back to the communities in which they operate.

After reading the articles by Ed and Milton I have new insights about Panera’s actions and their way of doing business. Ed and Milton would see Panera Bread as a company that has taken on “social responsibilities” and in turn is actually operating against the normative way a capitalist market functions. By donating its time, product and money to the community Panera Bread is doing exactly what Milton so adamantly spoke against, “…his actions in accord with his “social responsibility” reduce returns to stockholders, he is spending their money.” This is an example of a corporation that operates under a stakeholder management system. By supporting the community Panera Bread adds a personal element that can be considered added value to its consumers who want to help the less fortunate. While this may increase Panera Bread’s business and customer loyalty it does not follow the capitalist model and thus causing conflict for the company from an economic standpoint. As Ed made clear in his article, “…economics counts.” With this in mind it is difficult to form an opinion on Panera’s operations because they are helping the community and increasing customer loyalty, but who appointed them to do this job? There was no election or voting process in which society gave Panera Bread this “responsibility”. Here is a prime example of what Ed and Milton discussed, the misplaced responsibilities of businesses. Responsibility falls in the hands of the individual, not the corporation.

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