HRDC’s Fork & Spoon Struggling Amid Pandemic

HRDC’s Fork & Spoon—Montana’s only pay-what-you-can restaurant— continues to serve Bozeman, providing take-out meals Sunday through Friday from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. In the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the restaurant halted asking for donations at the door on its eighty to 100 meals served each night, since most patrons were unable to contribute anything for their meal.

Fork & Spoon is a vital part of HRDC’s response to address hunger in the area. Last week, the restaurant served 530 meals or roughly 90 people each night. About a quarter of these meals go towards feeding individuals in HRDC emergency housing. Since March, Fork & Spoon has served just over 11,500 free meals to community members experiencing hunger.

Adding to Fork & Spoon’s challenges, the restaurant’s catering enterprise has experienced cancellations and a slowdown of profitable business. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, Fork & Spoon Catering was often booked, with proceeds helping to offset the cost of providing free meals at the restaurant. Fork & Spoon now estimates they will lose at least 75,000 dollars or more in gross catering revenue. That number does not account for previously anticipated growth. Moreover, giving is down at Fork & Spoon. Community members are encouraged to support Fork & Spoon by grabbing a meal from the restaurant and paying it forward or by making a donation.

“Prior to the global pandemic, we were serving about the same number of people, but we had a variety of patrons, including folks who were paying it forward. Now, the vast majority of community members we are serving are in need of a free meal. We simply are not seeing the same number of customers who have the capacity to pay. We are still here to feed our community. Those in need of a meal and those with the ability to pay are welcome to come to Fork & Spoon,” says Rick Hilles, Fork & Spoon’s Program Manager.

For more information about Fork & Spoon or to make a donation, visit For information about HRDC, visit