Name Your Price Restaurant Rakes in the Dough

Charles Bryant

I came across an interesting little tidbit yesterday on CNN.com. A cafe owner in Kettering, Ohio has a new pricing policy -- pay what you feel like the meal is worth. It sounds crazy, but his business is actually thriving with the new policy and he's in a position where he may even have to hire more employees to help meet demand. His Bulgarian wife gave him the idea based on similar practices in some European cafes.

If you think that folks might take advantage and pay a penny for a $10 meal, you'll be pleased to learn that it's not going down that way. Turns out customers have a hard time looking the owner in the eye and telling him his food isn't worth much. So far he figured he's breaking even with some people paying a little more and some a little less than he'd normally charge. He feels like folks have appreciated being able to control a small part of their finances when so much is determined by other factors.

This isn't the first time someone has made a set-your-price policy. The band Radiohead famously allowed fans to pay what they wanted for their last record, In Rainbows, and apparently did pretty well with it.

So if you're near Kettering, Ohio pay a visit to the Java Street Cafe and help support their business.

Your homework for tonight: Is a free market "free" if it's regulated? Take the recession quiz! What's the difference between a recession and a depression?