There are few things frowned upon more in the dining community than reservation no-shows. In a nutshell, it’s a lose-lose: restaurants lose business and customers hoping to snag a prized table at the latest hotspot are shut out. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that restaurants are starting to fight back.
Los Angeles eatery Red Medicine made headlines last month when its owners used Twitter to publically call out those who failed to show up for reservations. The restaurant went as far as to mock individuals, with Tweets including “I hope you enjoyed your GF’s B-day and the flowers that you didn’t bring when you no-showed for your 8:15 res.” Ouch. Reactions to this method of public shaming were decidedly mixed, with one would-be diner even penning a response to defend his failure to show.
Meanwhile, hotly anticipated Trois Mec in Los Angeles – the brainchild of celebrity chefs Jon Shook, Vinny Dotolo and Ludo Lefebvre – announced this weekend that people will have to buy nonrefundable tickets online in order to secure a spot at the restaurant. This requirement is somewhat of an extension of policies requesting advance deposits on credit cards or charging cancellation fees, already instituted at a handful of restaurants worldwide.
So, what are the next steps? Might a membership requirement be enforced simply to be able to make reservations? Could restaurants begin instituting ticket policies similar to those of sporting events, offering season passes and ticket plans? We can picture it now: “Four dinners per year, including one guaranteed Friday or Saturday night! Center table placement and free bottle of Chardonnay included with purchase.” Ticket scalpers patrolling every corner of New York’s meatpacking district, hawking prime booking times at the city’s hottest spots. Are people on to something here, or has it been taken too far? Let us know in the comments what you think the future holds for restaurant reservations.
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