Food & Drink

Pizzeria Owner Devises Pay-It-Forward Slice System for the Homeless

Walking into Rosa's Fresh Pizza in Philadelphia is a little bit like walking into your most prankable coworker's cubicle while they're on vacation -- it's covered in Post-it notes. But the reasoning behind the ones at Rosa's is a whole lot nobler. The owner, Mason Wartman, instituted a pay-it-forward slice policy wherein customers can pay an extra $1 to buy a slice in advance for the homeless. And each Post-it is a unit of currency.

If someone wants a free slice, they can simply take a Post-it from the wall and exchange it at the register; in the nine months that the policy has been in place, over 8,400 slices of pizza have been paid for in advance by charitable customers. That's so many that the Post-it note system eventually had to be scrapped in favor of a more organized method (Wartman keeps track at the register), but now, each paper affixed to the wall is adorned with sentiments of gratitude for the free food.

Wartman got the idea when a customer asked if they could buy pizza in the same way that Italians practice "suspended coffee," the act of anonymous charity for a future patron. About 30 to 40 slices are paid forward every day. 

Adam Lapetina is a Food/Drink staff writer for Thrillist, and thinks there should be a place like this in every city in America. Read his musings at @adamlapetina.