Imagine you’re going out to eat with a group of friends. You have decided on a place which includes a small reservation fee, split between you and your 5 closest friends. As soon as you enter, you notice an open and uplifting interior design, maybe not as dimly lit and segregated as the place you had dinner at during the previous weekend. You and your friends are immediately assigned to different seats around the restaurant into unfamiliar groups strategically organized to rip you from your safe circle of friends, which likely consists of people from similar socioeconomic or ethnic backgrounds, education levels, religions, or hobby groups.
The juxtaposition of “small reservation fee” and “similar socioeconomic backgrounds” makes this concept seem like an illusion to me. By and large, there is not a lot of socioeconomic diversity among the clientele in restaurants that (a) are run by a chef in the kitchen and (b) impose a reservation fee.
I get the concept and I understand that the goal is a form of education, but elsewhere in the world, education has to be subsidized by grants and scholarships to individuals and tax monies to institutions to even attempt to approach equality, which it still falls well short of achieving. I mean, just look at the image you chose for this article — how diverse does that look to you?
There are definitely ways to accomplish the goals of the agape restaurant concept, but reservation fees and a restaurant full of mainly well-to-do white people isn’t it.