"There is some concern that turkey chili will simply become a little less popular," Nelson said of the Panera experiment. "On the other hand, I think that those who choose to buy it will be reluctant to pay low prices."
Shaich is optimistic based on what he's seen firsthand. He worked at the opening of the Clayton store, making food and waiting on customers. He saw well-to-do frat boys leaving without paying a dime, but more often, he saw people being generous. Even those clearly in need dug into their pockets.
"A lot of cynics think Americans are just gaming the system," Shaich said. "Our experience is very different. People do the right thing and are willing to take care of each other."
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