VIDEO: North Carolina restaurant allows diners to pay what they can afford


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – You’re going to have many options when it’s time to pay the check at a new downtown Raleigh restaurant that opened on Monday.

You can pay some, all, or more than the recommended rate at “A Place at the Table,” which is located at 300 W. Hargett St.

Coordinators did their first test run of the program in August 2016 – in partnership with the local restaurant “Relish.”

Customers have five options for paying their meal at A Place at the Table.

There’s a suggested donation rate, which is basically what the meal would normally cost. If that’s not in your budget, you can pay what you’re able to afford – or do some volunteer work for the restaurant in order to offset the cost.

If you are feeling a little more generous, you can pay the bill plus a little extra donation.

The fifth option is to offer to pay for your meal and someone else’s.

A Place at the Table’s executive director, Maggie Kane, told CBS North Carolina that the model is sustainable as long as 80 percent of people pay the suggested donation, with 20 percent paying a little bit less or paying back by doing volunteer work.

“We believe all people deserve dignity, to dine in a restaurant. We believe that people deserve a hand up, versus a handout, and we want to be that place,” said Kane.

The hope is that some people who can afford to pay will help pay for those who can’t.

“[Some] can pay more, so that’s some people’s way to pay it forward. They can purchase meal tokens, so you could actually buy someone else’s full meal,” said Kane.

Kane said it’s important for the community to recognize that the restaurant is for everyone.

“We want everyone to feel like this is their restaurant and they are able to come have choice, and they’re able to come have a good meal that they may not ever get. And as well as a good meal, a good community, that they feel like this is family, whether you have money in your pocket or not.”

According to a press release from the restaurant, they are now one of more than 60 pay-what-you-can restaurants operating in the United States.

The restaurant will serve food ranging from waffles to quiche to lunch sandwiches and soup.

A Place at the Table officially opened this morning at 10 a.m. They will normally be open Monday-Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.



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