Imagine walking into a cafe, ordering a coffee and a biscuit, grabbing a seat and plugging away on your laptop. Then at the end of the week you drop a $20 into the anonymous drop box. Notice the missing step? The coins and bills to pay for your order when you receive it? Welcome to the Terra Bite cafe. It’s all about pure karma.
Terra Bite plays on the term “terabyte”, and references earth and food. It’s a dream turned into reality by Google programmer Ervin Peretz. Ervin came up with the idea of the pay-what-you-can cafe located in downtown Kirkland Washington, while arguing in a bar with a friend. Peretz put his money on the fact that people are for the most part good, but can be influenced by their environment. If people see good, they’ll do good as well.
Peretz ponied up $4000k/month for a lease on some space to set up the cafe. The break-even point for the Terra Bite cafe is about 100 customers, with $3 per transaction. So far they are sitting at 80 per day. It seems like most people are overpaying for their coffee and treats as well. The idea is built on wanting to contribute something, because of the open, honest environment. Ervin has plans to open up other locations if the idea pans out. If it turns out that 20% of customers are dishonest, then he might also think about installing cash registers.
What do you think about this social experiment? Could it become the ultimate web working location? Or will the pressures of overpaying be too much to handle?