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Diner bailout


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CARLY WEEKS (Globe & Mail) - Can't afford the capon? Pay whatever. Maybe we'll even bail you out.

As the downturn deepens, some restaurateurs are getting creative.

A handful of trusting restaurants in Britain and New York have instituted a "pay what you want" policy. And the trend has started to spread into Canada, with a popular Barrie, Ont., restaurant offering guests the option to name their price during the month of March.

"It's kind of a ballsy move," said Ryan Traversy, general manager of Oscar's Restaurant. "We're going on good faith on this one." Mr. Traversy said the restaurant will be offering a fixed menu to diners, who will receive a checklist at the end with a variety of prices, including a space for customers to write in their desired price. The idea is for customers to pay what they think the food is worth, and Mr. Traversy believes people won't underpay after eating the good food on offer.

"We're willing to put our food costs at risk here," he said.

Meanwhile, BeerBistro in downtown Toronto has just launched a new "economic stimulus package" to help attract customers.

Every day of the week, the restaurant will randomly "bail out" at least one table by paying for their drinks and meal.

"Everyone is feeling the economic crunch these days and this is just our way of trying to help out our community," Brian Morin, owner and chef of BeerBistro, said in a press release.

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