05/09/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Trend Alert: Pay-What-You-Wish Restaurants

Radiohead made news when it allowed its fans to pay whatever they thought was reasonable to download the band's latest album. Now, innovative restaurants around the world are doing the same thing--letting their patrons decide how much their meal is worth.

At Terra Bite Lounge in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland, most diners slip cash into a donation slot by the barista, while others just walk away without bothering to pay. "If I forget to bring enough money, I can just give more next time," says real-estate consultant Tina Cooper, who stops at Terra Bite most mornings for what she claims is the best soy latte in the neighborhood.

"When we first opened, some people felt uncomfortable and didn't come back," says Terra Bite's founder, Ervin Peretz. "But we now have regulars who put $20 into the slot every Friday for a week's worth of joe."

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