No tips, no schedules… no jobs! Vegan diner with Marxist business model turns out to be an epic fail

Marxism sounds like a good idea in theory until you try to put it into practice.

A “Marxist vegan” restaurant in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was forced to shut down after customers complained of long wait times, high prices and odd store hours.

The Garden Diner and Cafe — previously known as the Bartertown Diner — received glowing reviews on Yelp for its tasty vegan, vegetarian and raw food. The only problem was, the restaurant operated using a Marxist/communist business model that didn’t allow for bosses and gave all workers the same wage.

Under the egalitarian, employee-run business scheme, restaurant hours were determined by group consensus, so the shop opened and closed at random times, Munchies reported.

The inside of the restaurant was also decorated with Marxist paraphernalia, including a mural of Che Guevara, Mao Zedong, and other noted communist leaders.

A photo of the restaurant’s interior on Yelp.

And because the Garden Diner had an “equal pay, no tipping” policy, workers apparently had no incentive to deliver exceptional service. As a result, customers complained that they sometimes waited more than 40 minutes for a simple sandwich.

Patrons also complained on Yelp that they were annoyed by the frequent political tirades they received with every vegan meal. With high overhead and little profit, Garden Diner had no choice but to close shop after five years (it’s unclear how the business lasted that long).

Many people aren’t surprised by the outcome. One Reddit commenter summed it up best when he wrote: “You can’t make payroll and your bills with Facebook and Tumblr ‘likes.’”

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Samantha Chang


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