'Socially aware' restaurants where you pay whatever you want are becoming a new trend, but what are they?  

They say there's no such thing as a free lunch, but that may be untrue if you are bold enough.  "Pay What You Want" restaurants invite customers to pay only what they think the meal is worth.  The idea revolves around social conciousness and the idea that people are basically honest.  Perhaps you can see the flaw in this plan right away.  A fast-track to publicity, maybe, but these restaurants often lose a lot of money.  

Lentil As Anything, a-pay-what-you-want restaurant in Melbourne had a four-year tax battle with the Australian tax officeto be exempt from goods and service tax.  Some have been very successful, however, like Pay As You Please in Kilarney, Ireland, which also invites diners to bring their own wine. 

The owners of the pay-what-you-want restaurants all have one thing in common: they are trying to challenge the idea of inequality, specifically the kind that an income gap creates.  Due to the recent strain on the economy, this issue has been on the forefront of many people's minds.  There has been a huge increase in the use of food banks as more people than ever cannot afford to eat, never mind a night out in a restaurant.

Could these cafes and restaurants be the key to rebuilding communities stricken by poverty?