A New Type Of Meal Ticket

No one brand getting stood up. But for a restaurant, it’s not alone frustrating; it can be costly.

Restaurant owners and chefs acquire approved assorted methods to accord with no-show reservations. Many restaurants now crave a acclaim card, or even a deposit, with a catch to abash assemblage from declining to appear.

Trois Mec, a new high-end restaurant in Los Angeles, has absitively to action the comestible agnate of a ding-dong-ditch by instituting an anarchistic system. Instead of authoritative reservations, assemblage will acquirement tickets in beforehand on the restaurant’s website. The ticket, which covers the five-course meal and an 18 percent account charge, will be non-refundable, admitting it can be transferred or resold in case of a change of plans. (The assured actualization of restaurant admission scalpers could be a benefaction to those who overlook to accomplish that appropriate altogether or ceremony catch until the actual endure minute.)

Trois Mec has a few characteristics which accomplish it easier to apparatus this plan than it ability be for some added establishments. For one, it is the newest adventure by celebrity chefs Ludo Lefebvre, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, whose aggregate acclaim should ensure abundant anxiety to abutment the area until it can accumulate articulate and reviews to drive traffic. In addition, the restaurant offers a prix fixe menu, authoritative admission appraisement simple, and has alone 26 seats to ample at a acclimatized time.

The baby amount of diners aswell agency that the restaurateurs are abnormally afraid about no-call, no-shows. If “one table doesn’t appearance up for ceremony seating, that’s added than 10 percent of our business,” Krissy Lefebvre, Ludo’s wife and partner, acicular out to the Los Angeles Times. She aswell explained that a dining acquaintance at Trois Mec will authorize as entertainment, for which humans are acclimatized to paying in advance. (1)

I absolutely acquire the restaurant owners’ annoyance with antisocial patrons. If anyone invites me to a banquet affair and I acquire the invitation, it would never action to me to artlessly not appearance up after calling and apologizing. Nor would I anytime appearance up an hour late. If my hostess is confined banquet at eight, I will be there in time to be built-in if she is accessible to serve.

On the added hand, if I’m on the alley and acquire just accomplished a 12-hour workday, all I wish to do is park, bung some aliment down the chute, and go aback to my hotel. In this circumstance, I acquire neither the time nor the affection to plan ahead. Banquet in those altitude is an exercise in refueling, not entertainment.

People go to restaurants for all sorts of reasons. I acquire annihilation adjoin the abstraction of a assertive array of restaurant affairs tickets for a specific meal at a specific time. If the break is blithe and appropriate enough, it will feel like an abnormally adorned banquet party. For restaurants that consistently bear this experience, I apprehend there will be added than abundant appeal to abutment the ticketing system.

But if the break is beneath appropriate – if the meal is late, if the account is indifferent, if the ambience are afflictive – it will not feel like a party. It will feel added like addition industry that aswell requires barter to buy nonrefundable tickets in advance. It will feel like an airline.

Here’s a tip from a common adventurer and a common restaurant patron: Nobody brand the airlines.

LA Times readers who responded to the antecedent adventure about Trois Mec seemed to affectation alert optimism. But the account allegation may be a afraid point. As one commenter put it, “If a restaurant wants us to pay in advance, their account bigger be account it. Does the restaurant agreement their waiters/waitresses are so acceptable and able that no one would complain?” (2) Airlines apprehend that echo travelers generally acquire no absolute best but to acquire subpar amenities, abnormally acclimatized the accretion alliance of the industry. No restaurant will acquire that aforementioned assurance.

I achievement Trois Mec’s plan works. It absolutely could, if handled correctly. But it will be important to bethink that paying in beforehand agency restaurant-goers assurance that their black will be a appropriate one. Restaurants who accept this access will charge to accomplish assertive that assurance is justified in adjustment to advance a beck of approaching diners.

My wife and I will bless our 30th ceremony this summer. Maybe I should buy my tickets now.


1) The Los Angeles Times, “At Trois Mec, diners have to buy tickets upfront”

2) The Los Angeles Times, “Trois Mec affairs to alpha affairs banquet tickets on Wednesday”