CULINTRO A Community for Restaurant Professionals

Restaurant-Reservation Web Site to Close

TableXchange, a Web site that let diners buy and sell reservations at sought-after restaurants, will close April 1, the company said.

The site, touted by its founders as a way of making it easier for diners to get tables but criticized by restaurateurs, was launched in 2007 and focused on New York restaurants.

The Web site had about 5,000 registered users, according to co-founder Gabriel Erbst.

TableXchange was one of several restaurant-reservation Web sites that had sprung up in the past several years.

The site let users post reservations and set the price for those reservations. It then took a 20% cut when reservations -- available for Wednesday through Saturday nights -- were sold.

Mr. Erbst, 26 years old, a former investment banker, said that the need for a service like TableXchange had collapsed amid the economic downturn.

"These days, less people are eating out, there are less people with disposable income to eat out, and restaurants have more open tables than they used to have in the past," he explained.

Fine-dining sales are expected to drop 12% to 15% this year, according to Chicago restaurant industry consulting firm Technomic.

Drew Nieporent, owner of Myriad Restaurant Group, which owns New York restaurants like Nobu and Corton, said the number of no-shows he attributed to the site was so high that his restaurants had taken to scouring their reservations daily to weed out potential TableXchange reservations.

Mr. Erbst said that TableXchange offered no more than two or three tables per restaurant each night, and that his goal was to help restaurateurs fill tables.