Restaurant Lets Customers “Pay What They Can” To Help Support the Local Community

There's a restaurant in the UK called The Long Table that has been changing the way we think of dining out. This eatery and community center, located in the town of Stroud in South West England, has recently gained the attention of journalists from all over the world because they have been employing an unusual but revolutionary dining idea—a pay-as-you-can model. When someone enters The Long Table, they simply order their meal, say how much they would like to pay, and receive a meal token as they wait for their food.

At a time when rising prices have made healthy food unavailable for many, The Long Table is a vital resource for the community it serves. By serving still-good food that was rescued from landfills, they are able to employ 22 full-time and part-time staff members and provide food for the people living in Stroud. The Long Table serves lunch five days a week, and the store portion of the restaurant is open every morning for coffee and cake. They also offer hot dinners on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The restaurant features a new menu every day, including plant-based and gluten-free options, meaning that their diners never quite know what to expect.

In addition to their accessible food model, they also place an emphasis on conversation and community among their patrons. The restaurant got its name from the long tables located at the center of their establishment. The nature of their dining setup encourages customers to sit across from each other and talk as they enjoy their meals. As their website states, “At The Long Table, community and great food sit side by side. Whoever you are, whatever your story, pull up a chair and join us as we evolve the very notion of what a restaurant can be.”

Sadly, the restaurant is currently facing an eviction after the mill that they repurposed was sold to a new landlord. They have until August 25, 2024, to move out; but, until then, they are hosting a plethora of “Operation Fill-the-Mill” events, which provide community members with the chance to utilize their services. Currently, the owners are in search of a new location, but members of the community are still holding out hope and have created an open letter urging the new landlord to allow for The Long Table to remain at the Brimscombe Mill.

Even though The Long Table's future may be uncertain, the impact it is having on the local community certainly is not. One line of the open letter reads, “Collectively we hope a solution can be found which means that this loved, and very much needed, community resource can remain at Brimscombe Mill. If that is without possibility, then we implore you to allow them more time to find a new location to recreate the wonderful and essential hub they have worked so hard to build.”

For more information on The Long Table, check out their website. You can also follow along their journey and feasts on Instagram and Facebook.

The Long Table is a pay-as-you-can restaurant located in South West England.

They offer warm meals to community members five days a week, and only expect people to pay what they are able to.

In addition to their focus on food access, The Long Table also places an emphasis on community, as they encourage patrons to talk with each other as they eat their meal.

Sadly, The Long Table is currently being faced with the possibility of an eviction.

Fortunately, the community has rallied around the business and they remain hopeful.

The Long Table: Website | Instagram | Facebook
h/t: [Good News Network]

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Sarah Currier

Sarah Currier is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Based in central Iowa, she is currently enrolled at Iowa State University and is working toward a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in English. She loves all things creative, and when she’s not writing, you can find her immersed in the worlds of television, film, and literature.
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