Pay what you want

A London restaurant has decided to do away with bills for the next month, asking customers to pay only what they want for meals.

by: Reuters: Martina Fuchs: | 05 Feb 2009

The Little Bay restaurant in central London, one of four owned by restaurateur Peter Ilic, will present diners with absolutely nothing when they ask for the cheque during February, leaving it up to them to decide what the meal was worth.

"Anything between a penny and 50 pounds will make me happy, it's entirely up to the customer to decide," Ilic said, sounding confident about the prospects as he sat on a purple couch is his brightly coloured, arty restaurant, known for its bistro-style Mediterranean cuisine.

"It just seemed the right thing to do with everyone under the cash and feeling pretty miserable," he said.

Times have not been easy for London restaurants in recent months, as the credit crisis and a deepening recession have hit everyone, from ordinary city workers to highly paid bankers.

Whereas once high-flying hedge-fund managers from the London financial district known as the City might seek out the most ostentatiously expensive lunch they could find – and top London restaurants would willingly oblige – now the order of the day is austerity and a decent, tasty bargain.

Ilic, a long-standing player in the London restaurant business is well-known for his value gourmet food, but now he's gone one step further and effectively cut prices to zero.

Looking for a better value lunch
"We have seen so many more City folk coming into the restaurant lately, looking for a better value lunch," he said, explaining what gave him the idea, similar to that used by major bands like Radiohead to sell their CDs.

If people like something, they'll pay for it, the idea goes, and already Ilic has seen evidence that it works.

"Customers have already paid 20 percent more than the original price," he said, confident that he will more than cover his expenses for the month. "People want to be polite and would be embarrassed not to pay enough."

Good intentions or good marketing?

- None


NEXT ON FOOD24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.