Monday, March 7, 2011

what does it all mean?

also, any newcomers to the blog may feel mystified by our mission:

a data-driven, open-sourced, sliding-scale food concept

let me lay it down for you:

data driven: we focus on objectively observable phenomena when evaluating what works and what doesn't. nothing is sacred, nothing can't be changed, (almost) everything can be measured.

open-sourced: to the best of our ability, we'll try to keep the books, processes, and recipes open. if you have any ideas, there are means to contribute and critique.

sliding-scale: we don't price our items because this allows everyone to pay what they think the food is worth to them. all of our customers are generous. if push comes to shove, we will tell the customer what the average or range has been for a particular item. we're not out to stump anyone.


  1. So, what if it's worth $10 to a person, but they only have $5? It's part of the reason that people like to know what it's worth to the person *selling* the product - so the buyer can see if s/he can get something for less than it's worth (i.e., as much as it's worth to you, but less than it's worth to me - at which point we both win).

    Just a thought. Then again, from what I understand (having admittedly not read everything you've posted), I'm guessing that you're all about getting us to think and reply. :)

  2. good point. in that case, we would take $5. last weekend, i had a customer who wanted a french bread, but only had $2, which she felt was not enough for purchase. I said, take this french bread, enjoy it, like us on facebook, and tell a friend. we'll call it even. there's always a way to get around the money thing.

    if i could, i would give the food away, but i want to grow the business into something interesting and financially sustainable. also, people often don't value what they receive for free as much as what they pay for.

    i want our customers to feel gratified by getting a fair value for their money. i don't want them to leave the table thinking they "scored" by paying less than the item was worth. i am sure that will happen, but that is not the ethic i am trying to promote. i have found all of the customers i have interacted with to be generous (often to a fault), so i am not very worried about this.

    interestingly, one world everybody eats in salt lake city had a problem after a few years of operation of people stiffing them (they are a pay-what-you-like restaurant/cafe). i wonder if part of the reason was that money was privately transacted in opaque envelopes after ordering (these envelopes would be dropped into a box on the diner's way out). This way, no one would be embarrassed by their inability to pay, or their inability to pay what they would have liked. I think this may have worked on some counts, and lost on others; keeping the transaction amount out in the open allows both parties to be accountable and to face the stigma of underclass politics unflinchingly. if you only earn $8.50 an hour at Barnes & Noble, I'm telling you that your dollar means as much to be as three from the next person, and I hope I communicate that in the deference and appreciation I show for your patronage.