BOZEMAN, Mont. – The Heart of Butte Community Cafe recently had to close its doors; it was Butte’s only pay what you can restaurant.
Fork and Spoon, a restaurant in Bozeman that runs on the same business model, is facing similar challenges.
“We are currently facing financial challenges because the people who need us, the people who are why we are here, the mission of this restaurant, those folks know how to find us. We are very grateful for it. Our work now is to draw in more customers who have the capacity to pay,” said Fork and Spoon Marketing and Fundraiser Coordinator, Kate Wiggins.
The Fork and Spoon operates under the HRDC, which has made it possible to get by.
With only 20 percent of the people dining at the restaurant being able to pay, it has become difficult to make ends meet.
The pay what you can restaurant located on North 7th Avenue has to work over the next year to become self-sufficient so that it can continue to serve the community.
That means having more people eat at the restaurant that can pay the suggested price or more, and businesses sponsoring “pick up the tab” nights which pays for anyone who is unable to afford their meal that night.
Wiggins said, “there is a misconception about what we are and what we do. We hear quite often that there’s a conception that Fork and Spoon is a soup kitchen which it isn’t; it’s a restaurant. We just so happen to serve everyone whether they are paying or not. I have heard several people say, ‘I don’t want to come in for a meal, I feel like I would be taking food away from someone else who needs it more,’ and while I so appreciate that thoughtfulness, we are here to serve everyone.”
And it’s going to take many hungry people to keep the doors open.
“It absolutely is a community effort and it’s a good community to do it in,” Wiggins said.
The Fork and Spoon is open Sunday through Friday from 5-7 p.m.