New Jersey Restaurants Letting Diners Name Their Own Prices for Meals: Report

Two restaurants in New Jersey are doing something even the most inventive eateries would call radical: they’re letting the customers pick the prices.

Blu and Next Door, a pair of Montclair restaurant owned by chef Zod Arifai, are offering to let customers name their own prices for their meals through the month of August, the New York Times reports.

The promotion has proven an interesting social experiment, with some customers opting to pay more than a dish normally costs while others chose to pay a dollar a meal.

“I’ve learned that humanity is not as bad as we think,” Arifai told the Times.

Arifai told the Times that he decided to let diners pay what they wanted because the lease on the restaurants is running out and he wanted to thank the community.

The pick-your-own-price model has diners settling tabs in ways running the gamut, the Times reports. Some customers have opted to overpay to avoid looking cheap, while others have taken advantage, leaving a few dollars and paltry tips for massive meals.

Others, meanwhile, have left $5 for the meal with a $50 tip for their server, while at least one customer left a note explaining why they elected to pay what they did. One 6-year-old girl paid for her meal with a candy bar.

Arifai said he plans to close the restaurants once the promotion is over and may open another restaurant in Manhattan.

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