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  • Jul 12, 2014
  • Updated: 3:28am

Fuzhou pay-what-you-like restaurant loses thousands

Losses mount as the charitable intentions of the proprietors of the 'Five Loaves and Two Fishes' are undermined by mean-spirited diners

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 December, 2013, 9:35am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 December, 2013, 9:35am

A Biblically-named restaurant in China where patrons can pay whatever they want – or nothing at all – has shown that while loving your neighbour may be laudable, it is a risky business model.

The ‘Five Loaves and Two Fish’ restaurant, named for the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand, has been serving up hot meals and coffee daily to a packed house in Fuzhou since it opened its doors in August.

The city centre eatery is open 24 hours a day and is known for its seafood and local Fujianese cuisine, with specialities including garlic scallops, beef with scallions, and pickled pork.

Diners are expected to wash their own dishes after eating and then put whatever money they want to pay into a box.

“Honesty is the first step to building trust. In my eyes, those who don’t pay are sick.”
Restaurateur Liu Pengfei

But according to its investors, as many as one fifth of patrons opt to pay nothing, and the restaurant has lost 250,000 yuan (HK$316,255) since it opened.

“We initially expected the restaurant to stay open for two months, and now it has lasted three. The losses are not unbearable,” owner Liu Pengfei, 50, told the state-run China Daily newspaper.

Liu said in an October television interview that “what we care about most is not money, but trust” – but he now plans to encourage patrons who have not been paying to explain their reasons why not.

“They can tell me they don’t have enough money, that’s fine. But paying nothing and saying nothing is totally different,” he told the paper.

“Honesty is the first step to building trust. In my eyes, those who don’t pay are sick.”



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Ma Ruinan
First at all I will not call this place "restaurant" because it mislead people to think that someone are doing this activity for profit. This place is a non profit social meeting point having the commodities for cooking and dining. We can hold a party taking the necessary ingredient and enjoy cooking and meantime meet new friends. What a nice opportunity to be all together a good team. Here we can share daily life problems and happiness.
This kind of social activity I haven't seen elsewhere in countries (it total 26) that I had visited. It's a great idea to engage more people to do social activities in our community. It is not a question to pay or not to pay. As we all know, they are no "free rides" on our life. We need to use our time or many to pay our bills. Setting up this kind of social activity using private founds is an extraordinary act. If someone can dot it in such big scale, what's wrong if we support them (with money or time) and in this way we can all do charity in small scale and keep this great idea alive. Also this is a root level social activity to improve daily life in our family called Fuzhou. Instead of using our wallet for thinking we need to use our heart and common sense. We, who goes to enjoy this environment, are the key people on making this idea working. This is a forum to all of us smart or not atheist or not. I wish all my best and great respect to all the people engaged in this activity.
Those who don't pay are not sick. They are smart. There is this choice not to pay. Nothing really wrong with their decisions. That is the answer they could give.
The restauranter gives the patrons free choice and then is not happy when they exercise that right? Just like in the Bible; God gave man free will but those who choose NOT to follow His way will get the punishment of Hell. Need I say more as to why I am an atheist?


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