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Business Is Booming For Cafe With No Pricing Policy

Talk about a study of market pricing! Cafe owner Sam Lippert has taken prices off his menu and instead asks patrons to pay what they think his food is worth. He came up with the idea when he realized people were eating out less, and it's paying off — business is up between 50 to 100 percent, and he is thinking of making some of his part-time staff full-time employees. He told CNN:

"People need a reason to go out and treat themselves. You've got everybody saying if you need to save money don't buy a cup of coffee out, stop buying lattes . . . I'm trying to give people incentive to actually go out and eat and get a cup of coffee because they get to pay what they think is fair."

Lippert is an engineer by trade and purchased the Java Street Cafe in Kettering, OH, with money from his 401(k) in 2005. He says the idea to take prices off the menu came from his Bulgarian girlfriend, who had seen the practice in Europe. Would you underpay if given the chance, or do you think you would cough up a fair price?


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GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
Truthfully, I don't know what fair price is. What's the criteria? These days, I only like coffee the way I make it. Coffee is yet another thing I'm picky about. I would only drink other coffee if I'm desperate. :)
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I think I'd pair a fair price.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
when we first read about this guy and what he was doing a couple months ago, i think that we all thought this was an insane idea, but the fact that it works - well that's a great thing.
LadyAngel89 LadyAngel89 8 years
I would pay a fair price as long as it was good food/coffee. I have never had a problem paying for something I liked.
CoralAmber CoralAmber 8 years
I would probably pay between 3 and 5 dollars for a large latte depending on how well the employees were treating me. It might encourage me to tip more as well.
pharm_chick pharm_chick 8 years
i would def pay a fair price, not over or under what should be charged *cough*starbucks
Spectra Spectra 8 years
We did something similar to this as a fundraiser at church. We made a complete meal for the entire congregation and people came and ate and could either donate money or just eat for free if they couldn't afford it. And even though we had a handful of people that didn't pay anything, the vast majority of people paid a fair price and a couple of people grossly OVERpaid because they knew we put in a lot of effort. So I could see a restaurant like this working. It's a neat idea, that's for sure.
amybdk amybdk 8 years
I would definitely pay a fair price. It's HARD owning your own small business! I do wonder what kind of effect this has had on the employees. Are their wages still the same -- even if they are coming out farther ahead than before? What about tips?
bluebellknoll bluebellknoll 8 years
No doubt I would pay a fair price.
Roarman Roarman 8 years
I would pay a fair price. It's like what Radiohead did with their last album.
syako syako 8 years
I would pay a fair price if not more just because of the clever concept!
Carrie-Sue Carrie-Sue 8 years
What an idea! I wish they would open one near me. And I would pay a fair price.
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
I'm glad it's working. And I'd certinally pay fair price.
redegg redegg 8 years
Wow, this is an amazing concept and even more amazing that it is working. I wonder how long it will last.
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