FYI: There’s a restaurant that lets you decide how much you want to pay for your meal

If you knew you only had to pay as much as you wanted for your food, do you think you’d pay at all? That’s the experiment that New Jersey chef Zod Arifai is taking on for the month of August. At his two restaurants (which happen to be right next to each other) the prices have been waived and instead the waiter asks, “How much would you like to pay?”

This comes at the end of a long career for Arifai. He opened up his restaurant Blu, and its companion Next Door, a decade ago. Now that the lease is ending, Arifai has decided to move on with his talents. This time, he has his eyes set on Manhattan.

Here’s a glimpse at Chef Arifai’s culinary masterpieces:

But until then, customers are given free reign over their financial decisions using this Pay-What-You-Want model. Reactions have varied, with some people taking advantage and leaving nothing but a few dollars, and others overcompensating because of guilt or true appreciation. For the most part though, it’s evened out.

University of Minnesota marketing professor Kathleen D. Vohs might have an explanation for that:

According to Arifai, people have been paying a little less than half of the regular menu prices, but, he concedes, the portions are also smaller. He sees this as inspiring. He told the The New York Times, “I’ve learned that humanity is not as bad as we think.”

While the concept is unusual, it gives some individuals the chance to enjoy luxurious food for a “cheaper” price. The New York Times reports that one night a family ordered a table-full of entrees and only left a few bills to pay for it. But Chef Arifai didn’t view this incident as a negative one. “My daughter told me, ‘You gave people the option. Maybe they’re poor and a night out means eating at McDonald’s. So that’s what they left. But you gave them a good meal,” Arifai told NYT.

Overall, the culinary model is inspiring. But mostly, delicious.

(Image iStock)

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