Imagine a restaurant where there are no prices on the menu and where the check reads Rs.0 with only this footnote: “Your meal was a gift from someone who came before you. To keep the chain of gifts alive, we invite you to pay it forward for those dine after you.”
Altruistic cafe run by volunteers where guests donate to pay for the next customer’s meal.
That’s Seva Cafe, an experiment in ‘peer to peer’ generosity.
In a world full of hate, terror and violence, Ahmedabad’s Seva Cafe is a small ray of hope. The cafe not only provides a wholesome dining experience but also ends up teaching a lesson in giving without expectations.
‘School of service’, as they call it, you won’t receive a bill at the end of eating at this cafe, because it’s already paid by the customer who ate before you. In keeping this chain going, the generosity of both guests and volunteers helps to create a future that moves from transaction to trust. All you’ll be expected to do is to continue this kind gesture and make a contribution.
Driven by volunteers and operated by modest staff, our meals are cooked and served with love, and offered to the guest as a genuine gift.., from self-oriented isolation to shared commitment, and from fear of scarcity to a celebration of abundance.
At Seva Cafe, we serve with the spirit of “Atithi Devo Bhava” which translates to “The Guest is God,” a deep and ancient Indian view that honors each guest with reverence. We’re all used to the concept of offering a meal to family or a friend who visits our home, but at Seva Cafe, we extend this generosity to a stranger we don’t even know. The guests are told we trust them to accept this gift and pay forward the generosity so that this experiment can continue.
When you dine at Seva Cafe, you are not viewed as a customer, but instead as our treasured guest, as part of our family.
Seva means service. When immersed in the heart of Seva, one finds a pathway to the Divine, and its this connectedness to which we ultimately aspire. Volunteering at Seva Cafe is a conscious exercise in staying tuned to that deep and true space of genuine service.
As more participate in the joy of giving, the more the experiment thrives. It begins with a single gift: first given, then received… multiplied, and given again, in a growing chain of kindness and care. We hope this Circle of Giving leaves you feeling more nourished, and inspired to carry the experiment forward.
All costs and income are made transparent, and 100% of any profits are used to support social service projects!
So what do you think about this cafe and its free service. Do share your views on the same in the below comment box.