OK so here’s the theory – buyers love to pay what they feel because they know they can’t be put in a position they are uncomfortable with. They can’t be disappointed and sometimes it gives them access to something they simply could not afford otherwise.

Sellers love 'pay what you feel' because they don’t have to fix a price and the service they offer is accessible to all.

It can be used to trial an offering and to gauge perceived value, or it can pull on the heartstrings and render more income than the true value of the offering.

It can of course make a business feel good – albeit probably nervous too.

There are many restaurants and supper clubs that have used the 'pay what you feel' model, but these two stories are the most interesting.

The first one is in Pai in Thailand. “The Land Split” is more of an attraction than a restaurant…well, really it’s a farm.

The land split in Pai, Thailand photo courtesy of Vincent Wong

The land split in Pai, Thailand photo courtesy of Vincent Wong

Several years ago the owner of this farm woke up to find a huge crack splitting his property in half. Unable to farm any more, the innovative farmer decided to turn his property into a tourist attraction.

He welcomes all guests with a warm smile and unlimited roasted peanuts, sweet papaya, baked sweet potatoes, plantain chips, fresh roselle juice and jam.

All the delicious goodies are grown and made on the property. Best of all, everything is by donation. After paying what you think the snacks are worth, head up the hill and check out the split.

Now that’s a chap who understands that when life give you lemons, you make lemonade...

The land split in Pai, Thailand photo courtesy of Vincent Wong

The land split in Pai, Thailand photo courtesy of Vincent Wong

One of the more obvious uses for 'pay what you want' is for charity. My favourite example is “Lentil As Anything” .

Seriously devoted to feeding the needy, Shanaka Fernando operates four “Lentil As Anything” restaurants in Australia, which serve vegetarian meals on a pay-what-you-want basis, mainly operating with volunteers.

This man is so generous and open hearted that even his house has a sign outside explaining the house is not locked and you are welcome to take what you want!

His restaurants are not for profit (if he does make any profit, the money goes back into charitable projects).

Surprisingly he has sometimes been paid amazing amounts for his meals.

One customer donated a house – which he now uses as a shelter, and another customer paid a whopping 11,000 dollars for a meal. That is quite a tip!

Is there somewhere near you that uses pay what you want? What do you think of it as a business model?

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