Just Cookin Leaves Prices Up to Customers — and God

Just Cookin

There are some restaurants and bars that choose to omit the prices from their menus to avoid intimidating their customers. In a bold move, one restaurant, Just Cookin in Dallas, NC, has removed prices from their menu for a completely different reason: To give their customers the ability to pay what they want.

In a post announcing the new policy on her restaurant’s official Facebook page, owner Dana Parris, explained:

“I am putting my “FAITH” where my CASH REGISTER is. I am letting go and letting GOD!! No prices….No totals…..You pay what you think your meal is worth!!! Just Cookin is a God filled business….Thank you for Blessing us with the opportunity to serve you!!!!”

The strategy might not at first glance seem like a good way to increase revenue. However, Parris got the idea while praying about low profits during the summer months, she told ABC News. The community where she operates her business is a college town meaning less activity between semesters.

Just Cookin

The decision has caused some controversy.  On Facebook, a few visitors have complained about Parris mixing business and religion — a taboo subject with some business owners similar to mixing politics with business.

Generally, however, the campaign has been overwhelmingly successful, and Just Cookin reports it has tripled its revenues as a result.

Originally, the promotion was planned to last for one week. However after seeing it’s success, Parris has decided to extend it. Now she says she’s not sure when it will end.

Reaction among customers has been positive as well, Parris insists. The new policy has given some an opportunity for a meal they perhaps couldn’t have afforded before. Meanwhile, other customers leave a bit more money to make up for the difference.

Just Cookin

Parris says her pricing strategy has led to a community of customers who routinely leave money for the table after them or pay for a neighboring table’s meal.

Though just a local eatery specializing in hand patted burgers, hot dogs, salads, sandwiches, breakfast and brunch items, Just Cookin’s unique pay-what-you-will menu has really put it on the map. And, while a bit controversial at times, it seems to  have also generated the kind of social media buzz most businesses only dream about.

Images: Just Cookin


Aubrielle Billig Aubrielle Billig is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends. She covers business as it is impacted by pop culture, entrepreneurs in the arts, and other topics affecting creative businesses. She has a background as an illustrator and her design page can be found at AubrielleBillustrations.

7 Reactions
  1. That will not work for another culture that is always pinching pennies. They’re lucky that they have customers who are honest enough to pay the worth of their meal.

    • Culture has nothing to do with this.

    • I wouldn’t completely rule out the possibility that it could work in that setting, Aira. I’ve been in a tight spot for God knows how long, but I can see myself making a pay-what-you-can contribution in a food establishment. If you’re pinching pennies, I’d think a pay-what-you-can setup would actually be ideal.

  2. This takes a lot of trust to do in a business, regardless where one’s faith is. It’s a vulnerability position to put yourself in, but there’s a strength in that, because of that.

    I’m glad it’s working out for her.

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