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At One London Restaurant, the Bill Is up to You

With the global economy floundering, restaurants have tried to come up with as many resourceful ideas as possible, from prix fixe dinners to built-in tips, to draw in diners and keep businesses afloat. At London's Little Bay Restaurant, however, one restaurateur has gone where few others have gone before: for the month of February, he's letting his customers decide how much they ought to pay for their meals — if at all. To learn why,


"It's entirely up to each customer whether they give £100 or a penny. All I'm asking is they pay me what they think the food and service is worth," said Peter Ilic, the restaurant's owner, in a statement. "It just seemed the right thing to do with everyone . . . feeling pretty miserable."

This tactic sounds like it could be problematic, considering diners at the restaurant feast on such high-cost items as duck salad and caviar-topped haddock soup. But according to Ilic, the restaurant's made above its average spent per head over the last five days.

This focus on the honor code of customers isn't the first we've seen — last year, we told you about a San Francisco bar with a billing system that relies on the honor code. This is the first incident where I've heard of customers being given the power to decide how much they think a meal is worth. Since most of you said you wouldn't pay the full amount at an honor code-based system, I'm rather surprised by the news that the restaurant's seeing profits. After watching the clip below, tell me: Has Ilic put an admirable concept into practice, or is he simply setting his restaurant up for failure?


Join The Conversation
NAOmni NAOmni 8 years
I love it!
MandeeLei MandeeLei 8 years
Saw this idea on Last Restaurant Standing the other day
Spectra Spectra 8 years
Actually, we did something like this for a church fundraiser once. We made a big spaghetti dinner with garlic bread, salad, etc., and invited everyone to eat and pay what they thought the meal was worth. We actually made quite a bit of money. There weren't as many freeloaders as you'd think. I could see this being a neat trend...hope it continues!
emalove emalove 8 years
There was a restaurant near my house that did this for awhile...couldn't have turned out so well, because the place is closed now.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
Interesting. It's based on a honor system.
Chrstne Chrstne 8 years
Interesting concept. I think he may be seeing a profit because of either more people going to the restaurant, or simply that people kind of feel bad for paying a dollar...even if they truly think a meal is worth a dollar for whatever reason. I'm sure people go there and think OH COOL, and then they're like well, I can't pay 5 bucks for two meals. Who knows.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I wonder how he will do in the long run...
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i think that the key is that the folks that are going there have gone there before or typically frequent similar type places, so it's not like they are going to stiff their waiter or really undervalue their meal. it's a hard one, but i think that it's pretty safe to say that it's a good bet that they'll do ok.
HoneyAndtheMoon HoneyAndtheMoon 8 years
I wish more things in life were pay what you will. Radiohead's last cd was like that. Maybe it will catch on!
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
Interesting, and it's certainly generating buzz.
Smacks83 Smacks83 8 years
There has been a restaurant in Queens NYC doing this for quite some time. They only do it on Tuesdays I think and it's all vegetarian health food stuff. I don' think it's a horrible idea because it makes people try your food and if they like it come back with friends. Not bad at all.
356UIK 356UIK 8 years
Its very gimicky.
mafalda_quino mafalda_quino 8 years
I don't think he'd be "setting his restaurant up for failure"! He's only running the promotion for one month and he's already got a lot of free publicity, especially when other restaurants in the area are struggling to get customers through the door. Besides, Ilic owns 4 restaurants in London, so he's not exactly putting all his eggs in one basket.
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
I think he could do suprisingly well.
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