Fine Dining Restaurants Experimenting with Pay in Advance?

A table sits empty during the lunch hour at Alioto's Seafood Restaurant

Food and drink enthusiasts might come across a new idea that could merely be a trend that is experimented with for a little while or something that could interestingly alter the dining business in the future. Certain restaurants are now testing out advance ticketing, which allows for customers to make a reservation and pay for their entire meal in advance similarly to a sports event, musical concert, or theater show. This is a very unique idea but makes sense for how digital and mobile everything has become.

The restaurant responsible for the idea is triple Michelin starred Alinea and it’s co-owner Nick Kokonas, and more specifically chef Thomas Keller. The chef made it clear that his restaurants in New York and Napa Valley would be switching over to this system sometime in 2015. A decent amount of chefs have hopped on board with this idea because they feel that the restaurants and food are such high quality that people should be willing to pay a flat rate in advanced to experience the restaurant and all of its culture. The process also guarantees that the tables will be filled or at least paid for if people choose not to show or have to cancel at the last minute. Restaurants end up losing a decent amount of money from cancellations no matter what the reason is, and can do nothing to stop it or make that money back.

It will be interesting to watch this idea play out in various restaurants because it would work for some and fail for others depending on the price to make a reservation and dine. If restaurants have clients that can afford to pay for a luxury meal up front then this could turn out to be a very successful idea, but some people like having no plans and being able to casually dine on a spur of the moment decision.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Written by Blaise Hopkins

Feel free to contact Blaise on Twitter @Blaisehopkins or check out his blog Man and His Movies.