Here are the questions that we are asked most frequently. If there are questions you have that are not here, please do not hesitate to reach out us personally.

1. What does pay-what-you-can pricing mean?

Customers have multiple options to pay:

  • Pay what you are able to afford.
  • Pay what you would typically pay for a similar meal. (We will have a suggested donation)
  • Pay what you would typically pay, plus an extra donation.
  • Pay specifically for someone else’s full meal.
  • Pay by volunteering with us.

2. What will the suggested donation be? Is there a minimum I have to pay?

The suggested donation will be less than one would pay for a healthy, locally sourced meal. It will be a reasonable fare with prices from $5-$8. In order to cover our costs and encourage a dignified exchange, we suggest that one does make that minimum payment or volunteer your time in exchange for your meal.

3. Where does my donation go if I donate more?

If you’re able to contribute a bit more, know that that will help feed those who come in and are unable to donate the full suggested donation for their food. Studies show that 80 % of people need to be paying the suggested donation or paying more for their meal.

4. Where will you get your food from?

We will use locally-sourced products as much as we are able to. We realize that seasons change and we will be unable to source locally for every item, but we will work with local farmers, community gardens, and nonprofits as much as possible to provide our food.

5. What is the menu? Will it be a rotating menu?

Currently we are considering breakfast for lunch options. We will have healthy breakfast options such as a roasted vegetable egg casserole, oatmeal, and fresh salad. We also will have casseroles to choose from offering vegan, gluten free, and vegetarian options. Most days we may have fresh soups as well. The menu will be rotating depending upon what we are able to source during the season and what is donated. We have a consistent menu of casseroles (potentially breakfast), salads, and healthy recipes.

6. How will people find out about the cafe?

We are on social media and will be posting the menu daily. We will have a window front sign on Hillsborough St. and will advertise throughout Raleigh.

7. What will my experience be like?

Customers will be greeted as they walk in. The ‘Greeters’ (volunteer position) will tell patrons what is on the menu, what the options are to pay, and provide more information about Place at the Table if they would like. They will then choose what they would like to eat and place their order with volunteers behind the serving line or counter. They will pay-what-they-can at the cash register.  People can then choose to sit at the long, communal table with other people or sit at a smaller table. Everyone will have a dignified experience and feel welcomed & included.

8. Who are you serving?

We are serving everyone from all walks of life. We believe that all people deserve the dignity to eat in a restaurant and have a healthy, affordable meal. We are located on Hillsborough St. and will be primarily be a cafe for students and staff of NC State & Meredith, some of whom live in poverty, but we are there for everyone. Wherever you may come from, you are welcome to dine with us. We hope you will.

9. How many employees will work there?

We will have three employees: a Head Chef, Cafe Manager, and a part-time Cafe Manager. The Chef will run the kitchen and the Manager will run the restaurant, both will have volunteers to help.

10. What is the cafe and dining area going to look like?

See our post on what the cafe will look like here.  

11. What does volunteering for a meal look like?

All volunteers are properly matched to the function that best suits their abilities. Some may be working in the kitchen, some may be working outside, and some may be doing things like washing windows, wiping tables, dishes, etc. However, we are a restaurant first. Like every other restaurant in Raleigh, we are licensed and follow all rules and regulations by the Health Department. Volunteers will be trained and required to do that as well.

12. How can I get involved?

Email maggie@tableraleigh.org if you are interested in getting involved. We will need help as we get closer to opening & prior to that with fundraisers, building A Place at the Table, and projects throughout the year. We will need a steady stream of volunteers when we open in July of 2016. We also will need people to eat with us as soon as we open!

13. I don’t live in Raleigh, but like the idea. What can I do?

If you are financially able to, please consider providing monetary donations on our site. If not, that is okay. Become involved and follow us on our social media platforms. Stay-up-to-date on our blogs and see what we are doing. We love hearing from you at our email address as well: aplaceatthetableraleigh@gmail.com

14. What tangible benefits are achieved through your mission?

Community, healthy food, affordable food, conversation, friendship, education on healthy food, job experience

15. How will you measure your organization’s success?

  • Quantitative: How well do we keep to our 80/20 paying model? And/or are we keeping to our budget and raising money? How many people are eating there daily? Are we growing?
  • Qualitative: How effective are we at building community?  Are people regularly eating in our establishment including repeat customers?

16. Your “community” mission sounds like a church mission – how are you different from a religious organization?

While APATT was born from a place of putting our faith into action, we are not a religious organization.  What we hope resonates about our mission is its call to compassion.  We see that  APATT can be the conduit to live out the mission of a faith community. We will prove to be inclusive of everyone, including people of all faiths.

17. Why have you targeted NCSU students as your primary beneficiaries?

We have seen the research and studies that there are many NCSU students and staff living in poverty on campus. Staff is making minimum wage and not dining on campus. While at the same time, we see many students, staff, and higher ED to be socially conscious and driven to do good in the world. We think we will have a good mix.

18. How many homeless people do you expect to serve on a daily basis?

APATT will not know who has access to housing and who does not. While sometimes we think we know who has access to housing, transportation, education, work, etc. based on what someone looks like or how they are dressed, this is not always a good indication of economic means.  While we will be able to measure who has paid for their meal by volunteering, we will not know. It is our goal to maintain the 80/20 rule (80 paying full price or more, 20 paying a portion or none) to be financially sustainable.

We know that there are 20-30 people daily receiving a brown bag from the two churches behind APATT. Whether they are homeless or whether they are simply hungry, we anticipate them to pass through our cafe as well.

There are also people experiencing homelessness using the NCSU library and the Wake County Library as a hub for books and the computer. We are not too far from either.


Please send in your questions to maggie@tableraleigh.org and we will update this regularly.