Paul Lightfoot always said he had "an appetite for risk," and he just found out that taking risks doesn't always pay. In 1998 Lightfoot quit the legal profession to found New York online restaurant reservation system www.foodline.com. The initial US$250,000 he and his business partner, chef Robert Thomas, raised from family and friends, was ramped up with US$13m funding from various trade partners and venture capitalists. But it seems that even this level of backing wasn't sufficient to keep foodline.com on its feet after the anticipated growth in demand failed to materialise.

 Back in October, just-food.com reported that foodline.com had shed 50 staff in a bid to cut costs (to read this article, click here). While these were mainly editorial and marketing staff, it now appears that the rest of the group's 100 employees have also been laid off. While the website itself is still live, operations have ceased and Lightfoot has filed for bankruptcy.

 "Foodline.com was built for an accelerated growth strategy and required fresh infusions of capital to fuel such growth," said Lighthouse, but with the dotcom market in a sustained freefall, that funding became harder to secure.

 Lightfoot is hoping that it will minimise losses by selling its suite of software solutions, but the climate for purveyors of online ordering software is looking more hostile by the day, so his hopes may well be vain.