clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Restaurant Allows Customers to Wash Dishes for a Free Meal

The restaurant functions on a "pay-how-you-can" model.

Healthy World Cafe/Facebook

At one restaurant in Pennsylvania, you don't need cash or a credit card to pay for your meal. According to Penn Live, Healthy World Cafe functions on a "pay-how-you-can" model which allows customers to eat for free "in exchange for volunteering their time." This means customers can sweep the floors, do dishes, or break down boxes for a hot plate of food. Healthy World Cafe started out as a pop-up concept at a local church but will open in more permanent digs April 6.

Manager Liza Naylor notes that the goal of the cafe is for every customer to eat and for them to eat healthy. She adds that not everyone volunteers their time for a meal. Nearly 80 percent of customers pay for their meals, while 20 percent eat for free and volunteer. Diners can also "pay-it-foward and cover the cost of other diners' meals."

As for the food, the cafe buys its ingredients from "local famers and purveyors." The menu itself tends to lean vegan and vegetarian because those dishes are the least expensive. However, there are meat options too. Diners can expect dishes like chicken salad sandwiches on foccacia, swiss chard quiches, and Middle Eastern bean salad.

Healthy World Cafe is far from the first restaurant to accept alternative forms of payment. In February, a pop-up cafe in London accepted hugs as payment for cookies and tea. McDonald's launched a promotion in January where customers can pay for meals with "lovin'" — such as giving someone a compliment or taking a selfie — in place of real money.

Sign up for the Sign up for the Eater newsletter

The freshest news from the food world every day