What is a Pay-What-You-Can Café (or Community Kitchen)?
- A Pay-What-You-Can Café is a restaurant where all guests, regardless of their ability to pay, can enter and receive a healthy, delicious meal in a welcoming community. There are individual cafes across the country, each representing their community in their own ways.
Are there others?
- There are approximately 40 cafes in the United States, including two others in North Carolina (A Place at the Table in Raleigh and FARM Café in Boone).
Where did this idea come from?
- The Pay-What-You-Can model was started by Denise Cerreta in 2003 in Denver Colorado. Denise has gone on to start the One World Everybody Eats nonprofit organization that continues to assist and advise new and existing cafes.
Why is a Pay-What-You-Can Café needed?
- We believe everyone should have access to healthy and affordable food within a supportive community. We believe in a hand up versus a handout and will use good food as our tool towards creating community.
- Three main factors are addressed by a Community Kitchen
- Lack of Community: Society tends to separate people by income, beliefs, backgrounds, and a lack of locations where all feel welcome.
- Food Insecurity: One in eight Chatham County residents were food insecure during 2018, with a projected rate increase of 2.8% for 2020. Currently, 49% (almost half) of Chatham County students receive free or reduced lunches.
- Lack of Affordable, Health Food: Chatham County had an average of almost 5,000 participants for Food and Nutrition Services in 2020. In today’s world, it is much more affordable to survive on fast food rather than nutritious, freshly prepared meals.
What is the mission of The Quiltmaker Café?
- To provide community and healthy meals to all people, regardless of their ability to pay
What is the vision of the Quiltmaker Café?
- That all people have access to community and healthy food
How will the mission and vision of The Quiltmaker Café be fulfilled?
The café will use the seven main elements of the One World Everybody Eats model:
SOCIAL ENTERPRISE: We believe trust is an essential part of building community. Organizations whose social goals outweigh profits build trust.
PAY WHAT YOU CAN: There is no “suggested” pricing. Diners may donate what they can afford – in terms of money, produce, or time. Prosperous communities support and celebrate every member, regardless of their means.
GUESTS CHOOSE THEIR PORTIONS: Guests specify what they want and how much of each item. Choice is empowering and reduces food waste.
EVERYONE IS WELCOME: We believe food has the power to bring people together. Sharing a meal builds healthy communities, and healthy communities make a better world.
SPACE FOR COMMUNITY: We believe in a community-led approach to food security. A strong community results in long-term success for the organization.
OPPORTUNITY TO VOLUNTEER: We believe in offering a hand up rather than a handout. An engaged community with a healthy respect for food and its preparation is important.
EXCELLENT FOOD: We believe everyone should have access to healthy and nutritious food. Strong local partnerships result in stronger communities.
Where will The Quiltmaker Café be located?
- We are planning to be located in Pittsboro area of Chatham County, NC, although we are still actively searching for a site.
Where did the name, The Quiltmaker Café, originate?
- The café name was inspired by a children’s book, The Quiltmaker's Gift, that our youngest founder brought home from kindergarten, almost 20 years ago. It beautifully tells the story of a greedy king that MUST have one of the priceless quilts that a quiltmaker makes only for the poor and those in need. The quiltmaker convinces the king to give all of his possessions away as gifts, until he himself is poor. As the story progresses and the king finally receives his quilt, he declares that he is not poor, but rich from the memories of happiness he has given and received. He spends the rest of his days helping the quiltmaker deliver quilts to those in need.
What are the hours of operation?
- Although The Quiltmaker Café’s hours have not been finalized yet, these types of cafes tend to be most successful when open for 1-2 meals per day, 5-6 days a week. By offering a more limited hours, the café is able to save on additional staff costs and gives existing staff well deserved time off.
What types of food will be offered?
- The menu at the café will change with the seasons and the availability of fresh local items. The use of local, fresh ingredients not only provides the healthy element in the process of feeding people, but it pulls in the local community so that there is a symbiotic relationship between the need for healthy options and supporting other local, small businesses.
Where will the food come from?
- The Café will strive to source the majority of its food from local farmers, thereby supporting the community that it serves.
What is the plastic "gift card"?
- A plastic "gift card" will be equal to payment in the Café. They are earned by volunteering or can be given out as a donation. One card equals one meal.
How many staff will be employed by the Café?
- The café intends to have a paid staff of two to four employees: Executive Director, Kitchen Manager, and possibly a Restaurant Manager and Volunteer Coordinator in the future.
How will the Café be funded?
- The Quiltmaker Cafe’s funding is expected to be split evenly between two funding sources. Fifty percent will come from revenue generated by the free-will donation for meals. The other 50% will come from fundraising events, Peer-To-Peer fundraising, grants and donations from community members.
How will donations be spent?
- Over 60% of all donations will cover food costs and living wages for employees. Other expenses include Rent, Utilities, Insurance, and Restaurant Supplies.
How can I donate?
- You can now make a tax-deductible donation below by clicking the Donate Now button!
How else can I help?
- SPREAD THE WORD! The more guests we serve at the café, the better! You can also help by volunteering. Volunteering positions will include, food prep, clean up, serving, door greeters, dishwashers, and many other positions. There will truly be something for everyone!
Where can I learn more about The Quiltmaker Cafe?
- Please visit our website and social media pages on Facebook and Instagram @quiltmakercafe.
Where can I learn more about Pay-What-You-Can-Cafes?
- Check out One World Everybody Eats. Also, visit NC’s other two cafes, A Place at the Table in Raleigh, and F.A.R.M. Cafe in Boone.