Move over, theatres and concerts – now you also have to buy a ticket to attend some restaurants, thanks to the restaurant ticket program Tock, developed by Nick Kokonas. Can’t make your seating? That’s ok, just as with concert tickets, you can also scalp your restaurant tickets on Craigslist, where some restaurant tickets are fetching as much as $250 or more a piece.
The concept for Tock, and the Tock program itself, were developed by Kokonas, a Chicago restaurateur who runs three restaurants in Chicago -Alinea, The Aviary, and Next – as a way to reduce no-shows. As Kokonas told the Wall Street Journal last year, “I’d been thinking about tickets for years,” explaining that “Our no-shows at the bar dropped from 14% to near zero. If people buy tickets to a show, they go see the show.”
The concept – and the practice – has spread from Chicago to both coasts, from Philadelphia’s Volver to L.A.’s Trois Mec and San Francisco’s COI adopting the system as well.
As we mentioned, tickets for these restaurants can run as high as $250 or even more, and while that level of ticket includes your meal, tax and tip, the vision of people standing in a line around the block does cause the mind (at least this mind) to boggle a bit. But that’s exactly how it works – the Wall Street Journal article describes a sold-out night at Volvers, saying “By 8 p.m. patrons clutching $175 tickets they’d printed at home occupied spots vacated by early birds who’d opted to arrive at 5 p.m. for a lower price.”
(Volver appears to have reverted to using Open Table as of the time of this writing.)
While all of this may or may not seem interesting – or even odd – to you, what is interesting, at least to us, is the scalping market on Craigslist to which this has given rise.
What do you guys think of the concerpt of buying tickets for a restaurant seating? Love it? Hate it? Think it’s odd? Don’t care?
Have you ever participated in either booking, scalping, or buying scalped restaurant tickets? Let us know!
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