Restaurant Reservations Getting Phased Out

Upscale places using tickets instead

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 9, 2014 9:35 AM CDT

(Newser) – Classy restaurants across the country are doing away with traditional reservations. Instead, well-heeled diners at these establishments need meal tickets—quite literally, NPR reports. At Trois Mec in Los Angeles, for instance, you can score $100 tickets for a five-course meal; that includes tax and tip. (The tickets are sold online but go quickly.) In San Francisco, chef Daniel Patterson recently began ticketing for his restaurant, Coi. He made the decision in part because diners who'd made reservations often didn't actually come.—wasting his restaurant's time and money.

"The problem is we're a special occasion restaurant for most people, not a spontaneous decision," he explains to Eater. "A very large percentage of people who make reservations a month or two in advance will cancel them or not show up within the last week, and it's very hard to re-book them." The tickets mean he can keep prices lower, though a meal will still cost you between $145 and $195. The system also lets his staff "spend more time focusing on the guests that are actually coming in and not just moving reservations around, which occupies many hours a day." The ticketing system was the brainchild of Chicago restaurateur Nick Kokonas in 2011, and it's heading to locales such as Austin, Boston, and Philadelphia in the next six months. (In less-pricey restaurant news, the year's most calorie-packed restaurant meal has a whopping 3,540.)

You might need a ticket for this.
You might need a ticket for this.   (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)
Some upscale restaurants are asking customers to buy tickets, not score reservations.
Some upscale restaurants are asking customers to buy tickets, not score reservations.   (Shutterstock)
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