Innovation That Matters

Pay-what-you-can dish fights hunger at vegan café chain

Nonprofit & Social Cause

During tough economic times, pay-what-you-want pricing can be a nice way to show a little compassion while also helping to ensure a company’s own survival. Agency Nil and London restaurant Little Bay are two examples we’ve seen of that strategy, but California restaurant chain Café Gratitude’s approach is a little different. Rather than a recession-busting initiative, its pay-what-you-can “I am Grateful” dish is a manifestation of a socially focused business model it calls “Sacred Commerce.” “Each day, we practice shifting our attention to love, acceptance, gratitude, generosity, abundance, and the privilege of serving others,” the company’s website explains. In that spirit, the San Francisco-based company serves a menu of 100 percent organic and vegan food at its numerous California locations, locally produced and free of refined sugar, flour and additives. Both raw and cooked specialties are part of that menu, as is Café Gratitude’s “I am Grateful” community-supported grain bowl. Featuring shredded kale with quinoa, black beans and tahini-garlic sauce, the bowl was designed “to allow for those in financial need to have access to organic vegan food.” Accordingly, though the meal has a suggested value of USD 7, payment is by donation, and “no one is turned away,” the company says. One-off initiatives to battle social ills are all very well and good, but making kindness and charity an ongoing part of your daily operations takes corporate generosity to a new level. How is your brand committed to giving back? (Related: Donations to hungry children based on the value of donors’ favorite mealsBuy an exotic beer, donate to its country of originKraft uses social media to tackle hunger.) Spotted by: Jim Stewart



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