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Pay it forward café

A place where you’ll never get to eat what you ordered.

by: Kerry Gibbs | 25 Nov 2009

 It must be said, the Japanese are never ones to shy away from weird concepts – but without them we wouldn’t have sushi (raw fish for the love of the Lord), anime (Pokémon) and Harajuku girls.

Another wacky concept that has just popped onto the foodie blogosphere (thank you Cabel’s blog LOL) is about the Ogori Café in Kashiwa and their pay-it-forward dining experience.

When you arrive at the Café you get what the person before you ordered, and the next person gets your order. This means that you can either be happily surprised or greatly disappointed when receiving an orange juice when you actually wanted a salmon handroll.

I guess it all depends on whether the person before you is a wallet clenching cheapskate, feeling particularly generous or worried about what others may think – for psychology students it is an ingenious way of monitoring how societal preconceptions can affect a person’s behaviour.

But enough of the big words, what I want to know is can this concept take off and would it ever work in South Africa? Yes the novelty of surprise will last for a while, but won’t it eventually wear off leaving customers who just want to eat what they ordered?

There are so many questions that keep popping into my mind; what happens if you are a vegetarian and the person before you loves rare steak, or you are diabetic or gluten intolerant and receive something that makes you extremely sick? But then I guess this type of restaurant could also attract a more adventurous type of customer.

Maybe I am just being a pessimist and this concept could actually work and surprise everyone – let me know what you think?


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