The best part of Two Amigos Taqueria is not on the menu, but next to the cashier on a bulletin board.
It all began three years ago when the co-owner of the Mexican restaurant in Pleasanton got an idea to fight hunger in his community. So he put up the bulletin board and began asking customers if they were willing to pay it forward by buying an extra meal and donating it to people in need. Except, in this case, the donation happens right inside the restaurant.
"This is the easiest way for everybody to help," says Jose Mena, as he explains how the system works. "When someone wants to purchase a meal for somebody else, they just prepay for it, and pin the receipt on the wall. And whoever needs it, they come in and help themselves to the free meal."
Mena says the restaurant typically feeds about 10 people a day with the prepaid meals, most of which consist of a burrito or taco plate. He says he has a group of frequent customers who regularly buy meals to share.
The restaurant gives out cards to people who got a free meal and many have written thank you notes that also go on the board.
"Thank you for making a difference. You rock," says one thank you card. Another says, "It helps through the hard times. God bless all of you."
Mena says he does not mind if people who are homeless or are suffering from food insecurity stay and eat their meal inside the restaurant.
"We all got needs. Sometimes we struggle. Everybody is very happy to help."
Buy a burrito, give a burrito. How a Mexican restaurant is helping its customers feed people in need