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Australian Vegan Restaurant Chain That Had A ‘Pay As You Feel’ Policy Is Shutting Down

Australian Vegan Restaurant Chain That Had A ‘Pay As You Feel’ Policy Is Shutting Down

Lentil As Anything has revealed its three restaurants in Melbourne will be closed by the end of the month.

An Australian vegan restaurant chain is shutting its three Melbourne eateries in St Kilda, Abbotsford Convent and Brunswick.

Lentil As Anything was famous for its 'pay-as-you-feel' policy where customers could leave how ever much money they wanted for their food.

The chain has been operating for 21 years and sadly it has come time to close its doors.

Writing on their Instagram page, Lentil As Anything said: "Some years ago, unable to bare the injustice and inequality around me, I decided to start a restaurant that would provide food and opportunities for everyone, indiscriminately.

"I feel that we have done ok. We have given strong proof that kindness, trust and plain decency is capable of building trust amongst humans.

"Now , I’m sad to say that lentil as anything will close on the 27th of this month.

"Circumstances we face have made it impossible for us to go on."

They added: "Thank you to everyone who supported an idea that asked you to not be constrained by the theories of the mind but to activate with the openness of your hearts.

"There’s much to celebrate and be grateful for. Over the next ten days Please come and share your stories and memories with us.

"We love you. It’s a business doing pleasure with you."

In addition to being a restaurant that helped give food to customers in the area, Lentil As Anything also was credited for being a 'cultural meeting space for the community' and they also did 'work for asylum seekers'.

Lentil As Anything's founder, Shanaka Fernando, has blamed their struggles on the coronavirus pandemic.

He told Broadsheet that the government's closed border policy that was set up in March 2020 crippled their customer and staff source.

“The backpackers and uni students were about 70 per cent of our clientele, and they made up a similar number of the 5000 volunteers we needed annually as well to supplement our paid workforce,” Fernando said.

“But with the closing of the borders, our numbers dwindled considerably.

"We still provided about 100,000 free meals during the lockdowns, but we are now in a position where our income is not meeting the cost of our outgoings.”

When the pandemic first hit, they managed to raise $370,000 through a crowdfunding campaign, which was enough to get through through financial strife.

Sadly, they weren't able to raise the $400,000 needed to keep the three Melbourne restaurants alive.

Featured Image Credit: Credit: Lentil As Anything/Instagram

Topics: Australia