NEW YORK --Reciting the specials of the day is one of the pleasures of the job for Manhattan restaurateur Antonio Cerra. Keeping tables filled during a shaky economy isn't.Reciting the specials of the day is one of the pleasures of the job for Manhattan restaurateur Antonio Cerra. Keeping tables filled during a shaky economy isn't.
It's one of the reasons he's listed his East Side eatery "Padre Figlio" on a newly launched website called DineTonite.com. The website promises real-time reservations and substantial savings."On the surface, it makes all the sense in the world. There are people who want to go out and they would like to get something. A little more band for their buck. We have no problem with that," said Cerra. According the National Restaurant Association, in this down economy, 2 out of 5 consumers say they're not eating out as much as they'd like. The creators of dinetonite.com believe their service could change that. Membership is free to consumers and restaurants. Logging onto the site gives you a list of places to choose from along with the discount that each offers, sometimes even as much as 30 percent. There are even photos and reviews to help you choose. Once you pick a date and book a table, subscribers are charged a $5.00 fee. "If you are getting a 30 percent discount on a $200 check, you know it's pretty easy to do the math," said Michael Cardosa from Dinetonite.com More than a few restaurant savvy New Yorkers told us quality is also important. Just the promise of big savings is not enough if the food is mediocre. "Well, I think you don't necessarily want to go to a restaurant just because you get a discount. You want to go to a good restaurant that has good food," said one New Yorker. "We would not do anything if we did not feel that once you come in, you wouldn't want to come back," said Cerra. Cerra's Padre Figlia is one of the 30 restaurants on the site right now. And DineTonite's management insists it's highly selective when it comes to member establishments, acknowledging that cash-strapped consumers still want a satisfying dining experience.
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