Sep.05 - Leading French chefs have launched a buy-one-get-one-free offer at top restaurants in a recession-beating move to draw customers into their establishments. Edward Baran reports.
UPSOUND: "C'est bon? Oui chef..." Haute cuisine normally means high prices. But even here in France's famous bistros, the recession is biting. In a bid to draw in the crowds, more than a thousand top restaurants have signed up to a week-long experiment where diners can enjoy fixed-price two-for-one meals. Head chef at Paris's bistro 'Benoit' Eric Azoug welcomes the idea. SOUNDBITE: Eric Azoug, saying (French): "It gives us the possibility to reach some people who aren't used to forking out cash to go to a restaurant. Of course, eating well costs a bit of money, and in these times of crisis, not everybody can afford to eat out." Now in its third year, "Tous au Restaurant," or "Everyone to the Restaurant" offers cut-price cuisine at both Michelin-starred eateries and more modest establishments. The brainchild of Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse, it comes at a good time for French diners. Unemployment is close to the three million mark. And many are fearful about the price the euro zone crisis will force their economy to pay. SOUNDBITE: Unnamed client of Bistro Pierre Fillaud, saying (French): "It's a wonderful event that will allow us to discover restaurants that we usually couldn't afford as the people's income is getting smaller and smaller." SOUNDBITE: Unnamed client of Bistro Pierre Fillaud, saying (French): "It's a fantastic idea as it allows everyone the taste of the beautiful French cuisine." Organisers insist the event was not designed simply with an eye to filling empty tables. The real point, they say, is to encourage French people to discover the world of gastronomy for the very first time. Edward Baran, Reuters.