A Catholic charity in Spain has opened a “budding” chain of restaurants called Robin Hood that doesn’t seat anyone after 6 p.m. unless they’re homeless. According to the New York Times, the down-and-out can come dine on fish and cake for free, and otherwise have a lovely meal. It’s the brainchild of a group, Messengers of Peace, known for some pretty radical approaches to poverty, like offering 24/7 Wi-Fi inside the church and free coffee and tea during the day.
Despite the name, they aren’t technically “robbing” the rich to feed the poor, says Father Ángel García Rodríguez, the priest behind the idea. “The name is just to spice it up a bit and to get people to notice,” he told the Guardian earlier this month. “We could have called it ‘The Brothel’ and I’m sure that would have got people’s attention, too.”
The most interesting thing is the unique business model: breakfast and lunch revenue, paid for by guests, cover the nightly cost of free dinners. The idea is a setting — servers in uniforms, proper cutlery, etc. — that “gives you back some dignity,” García Rodríguez says, crediting the inspiration to Pope Francis, “who’s spoken again and again about the importance of giving people dignity.”
The project launched about a month ago and there are already four locations around Spain, but Father Ángel has a full-fledged empire in mind. The Times reports he wants celebrity chefs to swing by and run dinner service for a night, and says he’s talking to a Miami restaurateur about opening the first U.S. location as soon as January.