Around the World in 416 Words

While A Place at the Table offers a welcoming space for community and good food here in Raleigh, other organizations and establishments have taken the initiative to set up similar pay-what-you-can cafes across the world. This month we’re taking a virtual trip around the world, seeing what global community cafes are serving!

Closest to Raleigh is ComeUnity Café in Jackson, Tennessee. As the name suggests, this café is all about supporting the local community by offering a daily menu of seasonal and healthy meals that utilize the local Jackson produce. While the menu is pay-what-you-can, ComeUnity also has a community garden where patrons can volunteer in exchange for a meal at the café.

Moving across the pond, Ziferblat is a United Kingdom-based group of cafes that offer a different take on the pay-what-you-can model by eliminating payment for items altogether. Instead, customers pay for their time at the café. Free snacks and hot coffee are provided by the kitchen, so patrons can stop by for a minute, or enjoy the community and stay and pay for as long as they wish. First established in London, Ziferblat now has four locations across London, Manchester, and Liverpool!

Over in India, Seva Café is an entirely volunteer-driven, self-described “experiment” using a pay-it-forward method. At Seva Café, the bill is always priceless, and patrons are encouraged to engage in a “circle of giving” where they can pay for the opportunity for someone else to dine in the future. Starting in 2013, Seva’s pay-it-forward method has sustained its operations to this day. Seva treats every guest like family, and furthers its community efforts by donating any profits to social service projects.

Finally, Lentil as Anything is a group of pay-as-you-feel, not-for-profit restaurants all the way Down Under. Established in 2000, Lentil as Anything now has four locations in Australia where they offer delicious and hearty vegetarian and vegan cuisine. Lentil as Anything also has an urban garden collective to provide their kitchens with fresh, locally-grown produce for the community to enjoy.

As you can see, no two pay-what-you-can cafes are totally alike in their operations. However, just like A Place at the Table, pay-what-you-can cafes across the world value community, generosity, and good food. The cafes listed here are just a taste of the multitude of pay-what-you-can options available, so whether you’re taking a place at our table or travelling abroad, you will be sure to find places that offer a welcoming sense of community and excellent meals made with love.