March 24, 2009 / 6:43 AM / 10 years ago

At Sydney bistro, you decide what you pay

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - A top quality Sydney bistro is combating the recession with a menu ranging from Wagyu beef pie to fresh lobster that lets diners decide the price.

Like scores of restaurants in Sydney, Sobo on Bondi Beach has been hit hard by the economic downturn, which has driven many Australians to trim spending and cut back on eating out.

To bring the clients back again, restaurateur Adam Gerondis is offering, for a limited time, a menu that contains empty boxes where the price of each dish usually is.

Diners fill in the price they want, and the bill is calculated accordingly.

“My main goal is to have a full restaurant every night and for people to enjoy it so much during the promotion that they will come back afterwards,” Gerondis told Reuters.

The promotion that starts on Tuesday and runs until April 9.

“People have been watching what they spend and like all restaurants ours has been quiet, so we just want to give them the opportunity to pay what they think it’s worth,” he added.

Starters on the menu include blue cheese tart with caramelized onions, mains range from beef to salmon and there are also desserts such as creme brulee, as well as daily specials. Drinks, however, must be paid for.

“Tonight we have fresh lobster,” said Gerondis.

Sobo main dishes are usually priced between A$24-A$36 ($16-$25), but Gerondis said he would be happy with whatever diners decide to pay for their meal.

“We have no preconceived ideas of what we will get,” Gerondis said. “Whatever people pay, is whatever they pay.”

As the credit crisis bites all over the globe, several establishments are asking people to pay what they want to keep their business going.

In February, London restaurant The Little Bay invited clients to pay what they felt like for their meals, while budget hotel chair Ibis also offered guests the opportunity to set the price of their stay in their Singapore property.

Reporting by Pauline Askin, Editing by Miral Fahmy

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