This Coffee Shop Operates On The Honor System Instead Of Having A Staff, And It’s Working

Image via Facebook/The Vault Coffee Shop

One North Dakota coffee shop is testing the integrity of its customers and saving a lot of money at the same time by running the place entirely on the honor system.

The Vault Coffee Shop and Bakery in Valley City is an entirely self-serve-based cafe. Customers walk in, pour themselves a cup o’ Joe or tea, maybe grab a pastry or two, and proceed to the self-service checkout. They can then pay with either a credit card or cash, and “exact change is not necessary.”

Although there are cameras set up in the coffee shop, they aren’t there to catch you stealing if you do. Their main purpose is to “help provide a safe atmosphere.” Whether you pay or not, the honor system will dictate.

So, how’s the honor system working out in terms of profits? Co-owner and operator David Brekke, who runs The Vault with wife Kimberly, says that the shop hasn’t broken even yet, but it’s because people are still getting used to the idea. Nine out of 10 people walk out when they see it’s a self-serve spot, The Vault website reports. The people who stay, however, are generously making up for those who don’t.

The thing that’s amazing is that people have been extremely honest,” Brekke told KVRR News. “When I add up how much has been taken and how much is in the till at the end of the day… people are 15 percent more generous than thieving.”

The Brekkes say that occasionally teens will grab-and-go, but adults in this tight-knit and value-oriented community rarely, if ever, steal. Setting up a self-service shop like The Vault and making it successful has a lot to do with the people it serves.

Would an honor system coffee shop work anywhere? Probably not.” The Brekkes say. “The good people of Valley City make it possible.”

The Vault also sells books, art created by local artists and other items, all of which are more heavily monitored by security cameras.