Panera Bread is a company that has a chain of caterings all over the USA. The executive chairman of the board, Ron Shaich, has decided to open a nonprofit restaurant in St. Louis that declares “Take what you need, leave your fair share”.
The restaurant offers bakery products and customers pay the price they consider appropriate, or, those who can’t pay, are able to get food by donating their time. One of the main ideas of this restaurant is to sell day-old baked goods other restaurants of the chain produce (Panera: Pay what you can afford, 2010). Sharing experience is one of the main problems the organization faces.
Dwelling upon the main idea of this nonprofit restaurant, it is important to state that it offers people bakery products which are not paid to the cashiers as in usual restaurants. Cashiers offer only the information about their cost and receive credit cards. When people have selected what they want, they are not offered to pay their bill, they are asked to donate. Those who have no money have an opportunity to donate their time, to work in the restaurant.
Money donated by the visitors is delivered to different communities which need support. Volunteer work is extremely important as it allows the company not to pay salaries and deliver more money to those who really need it (Horovitz, 2010). Sharing experience and knowledge is considered to be one of the main problems the community of practice faces, and the following steps should be considered to solve it.
First of all, the community of practice should identify the goals, objects and the scope of work to do. Considering the case under consideration, it is necessary to identify the organizations in the area which want to have the same practice. According to the number of objects, a group of people should be created which should be aware of the main principles of this kind of business. The volunteers who participated in the restaurant business may be considered as the best candidates.
Secondly, it is necessary to create a plan according to which the information is going to be shared. Specific meetings, Internet forums or leaflets with the specific data are the central means of sharing the information among those who are interested in the affair.
The managers of the restaurant should always be ready to answer the questions asked by those who are interested in running this kind of business. Panera Bread is not the first company which has decided to run this kind of business, so the information from other companies may be interesting. The Internet is a great opportunity to get it.
The policy of actions in the relation to the sharing of knowledge and experience in running donation business is created on the basis of the community of practice. It does not have any financial basis as this organization is nonprofit.
The community of practice is “made up of individuals who are informally bounded to one another through exposure to a similar set of problems and a common pursuit of solutions” (Daft & Lane, 2008, p. 216). Keeping in mind this specific definition, it is possible to create a set of nonprofit organizations which are aimed at helping foundations which need specific assistance or financial support.
Thus, it may be concluded that Panera Bread nonprofit restaurant based on donations and volunteer work may become a center of the community of practice aimed at helping other companies create the same kind of business in different spheres. Information sharing may be considered as the main problem the company may face, but it is important to remember about the communities which are always ready to help.
Daft, R. L. & Lane, P. G. (2008). The leadership experience. Stamford: Cengage Learning.
Horovitz, B. (2010, may 18). Non-profit Panera cafe: Take what you need, pay what you can. USA Today. Web.
Panera: Pay what you can afford. (2010, May 18). St. Louis Business Journal. Web.