Restaurant to customers: Just pay what you think the meal is worth

| by Judy Mottl
Restaurant to customers: Just pay what you think the meal is worth

In what may be the best-ever customer dining experience, a New Jersey restaurant is giving diners the opportunity to “eat what you want and pay what you want.”

It could also be viewed as the latest approach to self-checkout in a retail environment.

Either way it's more than a bit unique.

Apparently Blu, in Montclair, was aiming to shutter its doors come the end of August as a lease agreement was ending, according to the eatery’s website.

So the owners decided to do something different for the last few weeks of operation:  leave the bill to the customer. Literally.

Serving modern American cuisine, with French, Italian and Asian influences, Blu opens for dinner only between 5 and 5:30 p.m. throughout the week and it’s bring  your own booze as it has no bar service.

The operators of Blu also own Next Door, also in Montclair, which serves lunch and dinner.

According to one published report, diners must finish every dish ordered and no take-home is permitted. Owner and chef Zod Arifai toldthe New York Times that most diners are paying about half the menu prices for meals and some are paying much less. Now it seems the attention from the Timesarticle may help keep the restaurant open for a few more months, according to a website update Blu's owner posted. But the self-tab promotion ends Aug. 31.

The menu includes everything from Napa Cabbage Salad with Asian greens to salmon tartar, meat loaf, burger and a rump steak.

An OpenTable description notes the eatery is expected to be open through Aug. 31.

"Blu opened in 2005 to critical acclaim. Constantly recognized and awarded as one of the best restaurants in NJ by critics as well as diners. Blu is a casual restaurant serving sophisticated, refined, fine dining food with clean flavors and healthy preparations. The menu is almost 95% gluten free. No entree is over $28," states the write-up, which also includes this post-note: “despite all the accolades we are NOT a fine dining restaurant, (and we dont charge you for it neither) we are all about the food.

And clearly not charging anyone at this point.

Topics: Customer Experience, Customer Service, Marketing, Self-Checkout

Judy Mottl

Judy Mottl is an experienced editor, reporter and blogger who has worked for top media including AOL, InformationWeek and InternetNews. She’s written everything from breaking news to in-depth trends. She loves a great pitch so email here, follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn.

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