The (no) money shop
Although it seems this type of thing has been done before, and worked, with a commercial business, it has yet to be done with a national chain.
As the value of digital media continues to be debated, specifically in the music industry, some pioneers are willing to run their own little experiments before the universal answer is found. For the people at Panera I hope this model works. It seems hopeful and positive to believe that customers will pay a fair price for the services you offer, and it also allows those who are unable to pay a fair price to still have access to your services.
Of course, the risk of not paying your bills is still there. Even though Panera has the Panera Foundation to cover most of their bills, it will be interesting to see just how well they do after putting the pricing in the hands of their customers.
Here at T.O.F.U. we will be doing a little experimenting of our own. Although the old issues are already marked as free, the new issue will be released digitally as pay-what-you-want. So, once we set the little guy free into the world yet again, you lovely people will be able to download it for however much you feel it is worth.
Personally, I’m interested to see how this goes, both for Panera and for T.O.F.U.