Member's Blog
North Carolina Diner Takes Prices Off Its Menu, Asks Customers To Pay What God Wants, And Triples Its Revenue
Written by Malek

A diner in North Carolina is putting its faith in a new form of economic self-determination: Pay what God wants.

Dana Parris, owner of the Just Cookin restaurant in Dallas, North Carolina, decided to take the prices off her menus. Instead of having a set number, she asks her customers to pay what they think God would like.

"He just came to me and said I don't need to do it, I need to let him do it," Parris told the Gaston Gazette of Gaston County, North Carolina. "The way I could show I was giving God control was to give him control of the cash register."

The Good Lord has been something of a cash cow for Parris. Revenues tripled in the first week, she says.


While pay-what-you-want-restaurants are starting to become a trend, like Lentil As Anything in Melbourne, Australia, SAME Cafe in Denver, Colorado, or Jon Bon Jovi's Soul Kitchen in Red Bank, New Jersey, the diner is the only faith-based one we've come across.

Dallas residents are taking kindly to Parris's new policy. As the Gaston Gazette reports

A few people haven't had the money to pay what might be considered "full price" for a meal, Parris said. She doesn't mind serving them.

Others don't seem to mind paying a little more.

A nurse came in short on cash and left with a drink and a hot dog at a bargain price, Parris said. Two days later the same nurse handed over $20 for an identical meal.

Parris hopes that the good news will keep on coming. 

"I pray that showing this little bit of faith will catch on and other people will have faith. I hope people will see his love shining here," Parris said"Sometimes you just have to give control back to God."

While it's certainly a novel strategy, it's unclear whether it will be sustainable. Restaurant chain Panera Bread suspended its pay-what-you-can experiment last year when payments dropped to just 75% of the retail price, and New York City's only "pay what you feel" restaurant, Santorini Grill, closed its doors in 2012 after just four months of operation. 

Correction: The Just Cookin diner is in Dallas, North Carolina, not Dallas, Texas.