A restaurant that uses the honor system for beer purchases (new vid)

Riverside Market & Cafe in Fort Lauderdale, FL has 550 types of bottled beer in coolers lining one of their walls. If you want to drink one, you grab it and knock it back. Want another? Open the door and get one. Repeat process until you’ve had your fill.

All they ask is that you please pay them for what you drank on the way out. That’s right, they have an honor system, and it’s unlike anything I’ve seen at any restaurant, anywhere. And while many people think that’s crazy, it was clear as day to me while we were there filming that people flock to Riverside exactly because of things like the honor system.

As Lisa mentions in this video, most people want to be trusted. And because she and her husband, Julian, choose to focus on the 99% of people who are honest, and not worry about the 1% who aren’t, they are able to have this wonderful honor system that frankly makes you feel more like you are visiting a friend’s house, not a business.

Recently I blogged about fear, and the more I think about it, the more I realize how much fear tends to drive many business decisions. It’s at the root of so many rules and regulations and systems that businesses in every industry put in place, to keep employees or customers from doing things those businesses fear they will do. Think about it. It’s pervasive.

But operating with faith, not fear, has clearly enabled the folks at Riverside Market & Cafe to create something special, and people go there to be a part of it because it’s so rare for businesses to operate that way these days.