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No cash? Eat up, then clean up.

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The Terra Bite Lounge in Kirkland, Wash., serves coffee, smoothies, baked goods, and sandwiches with no price tags. Ervin Peretz, the owner, adopted a pay-what-you-can model after a discussion about the stigmatization of "getting and accepting free food," he says.

Customers "get a pleasant experience. There's a lot of trust and warmth in this process, and they can feel like they are doing something good.... They are supporting people that might not be able to pay," Mr. Peretz says.

In Vienna, the words "pay as you wish" and "all you can eat" line the windows of Der Wiener Deewan – a restaurant founded and run by Afzaal Deewan, a cook and cricket player from Pakistan, and Natalie Deewan, a former college student – that offers a buffet of five curry dishes at whatever price people see fit to pay.

At Dan's Restaurant in Biddeford, Maine, customers can also negotiate prices as well as portion size. Owner Danielle Ward recently started doing this after an elderly woman on a fixed income came in and said she couldn't afford most of the items on the menu. "People are really taking advantage of this service" to help them afford to eat out on a budget, Ms. Ward says. Although she considers the price negotiations to be temporary, she may make them permanent.

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