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Albuquerque restaurant relies on 'karma' with 'pay what you feel'

By Ben Hooper
Albuquerque restaurant relies on 'karma' with 'pay what you feel'
The menu at Albuquerque's Karma Cafe has no prices, allowing customers to pay whatever amount they "feel." Screenshot: KRQE-TV

ALBUQUERQUE, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- An Albuquerque cafe is relying on "karma" to keep it afloat by adopting a unique "pay as you feel" policy -- even if you don't feel like paying at all.

David Wade McCullough, owner of the Karma Cafe, said he was inspired to found the restaurant by the philosophy of an eatery he encountered with a similar model in Australia.

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"[The restaurant] operated on a 'pay as you feel' model," McCullough told KRQE-TV.

McCullough applied the concept to a pop-up food stand, Food Karma, and three years later was able to transform the business into a full restaurant, which officially opened Tuesday after a crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe.

McCullough said he's found that most customers are more than willing to pay fair prices

"Most people are fair and honest and want to contribute," McCullough said. "Even if people are say homeless of struggling, they still want to contribute or pay what they can."

McCullough said making money from the restaurant is secondary to his main purpose: "Giving people a place, a safe place where they can come and have something to eat."

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