Frequently Asked Questions

We know that pay-what-you-can cafes are a new concept for a lot of people. We have pulled together a list of questions that we are asked most frequently. If we haven’t answered your question, please email us at

1. What does pay-what-you-can pricing mean?

Customers have multiple options to pay and to pay-it-forward.

  • Pay the suggested price

  • At least half of the suggested price

  • By volunteering with us

Pay it Forward

  • Tip to fulfill our mission

  • Buy a $10 token to hand out yourself in the community

2.  Where does my donation go if I donate more?

If you’re able to contribute a bit more, it will help A Place at the Table meet our mission. Other cafe's operations show that 80% of people need to be paying the suggested donation or paying more for their meal.

 3.  What is the menu?

Our menu consists breakfast and lunch items. We have bowls, toasts, waffles and a full coffee bar. Our lunch items include salads, sandwiches, and some other creative dishes. We offer vegan, gluten free, and vegetarian options. Please see our menu tab for more details.

  4.  What will my experience be like?

Picture any coffee shop you walk into. You walk in, choose whatever you want on the menu, and then check out. As you checkout, you will have those multiple ways to pay. You personally choose what you can pay that day. We will bring your food to you as you sit at the community table, a bar stool, or another table in the cafe.

 5.  Who are you serving?

We are serving everyone. We believe that all people deserve dignity to eat in a restaurant and deserve dignity towards a healthy, affordable meal. Wherever you may come from, you are welcome to dine with us. We hope you will.

 6.  How many employees work at A Place at the Table?

We have eight employees: an Executive Chef, Cafe Manager, Executive Director, two Baristas, and three Sous-Chefs. The Chef will run the kitchen and the Manager will run the restaurant, both having volunteers to help.

 7.  What does volunteering for a meal involve?

All meal volunteers are properly matched to the function that best suits their abilities. Some may be working in the kitchen, some may be working outside, and some may be doing things like washing windows, wiping tables, dishes, etc. However, we are a restaurant first. Like every other restaurant in Raleigh, we are licensed and follow all rules and regulations by the Health Department. Volunteers will be required to do that as well.

Core volunteers are different. We have a set schedule of volunteers who are with us each week. These people are trained and can do most anything in the restaurant. They assist the hourly/monthly/quarterly volunteers with different tasks.

One must be 12 and older to volunteer with a parent. If you are 15 and above, you can volunteer with us without a parent.

 8.  How can I get involved?

Email to get involved!

 9.  I don’t live in Raleigh, but like the idea. What can I do?

If you are financially able to, please consider providing monetary donations on our site at If not, that is okay. We would love for you to stay involved and for you to follow us on our social media platforms. Stay-up-to-date on our blogs and newsletters and see what we are doing. We love hearing from you at our email address as well:

10.  How is this different than a soup kitchen?

We are feeding all people a healthy, dignified meal. Soup kitchens are needed and provide a basic necessity: food. However, that is all they do. We operate as a regular restaurant providing choices of healthy food items and a dignified dining experience. We encourage people to eat together and enjoy their meals together.

11.  What does having a community table mean?

A Place at the Table believes in the power of community. We believe that food can and will bring us together because we all have to eat and we all love to eat. We will have one communal table that people from all walks of life and backgrounds can sit at together. We encourage people to sit here and begin conversation. We will have conversation topics that can help initiate conversation.

12.  If I want to buy someone else’s meal, how much does it cost?

We are selling tokens for $10. Take the token with you and give it to someone who needs food and community.