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Alinea, The French Laundry And Per Se Debut Pre-Paid Reservations

Alinea, The French Laundry And Per Se Debut Pre-Paid Reservations

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High-end restaurants asking diners to pay for their meal in advance.

The world of fine dining is moving increasingly towards the concept of advance ticketing, in which diners have to book and prepay for their dinner much like a sporting event or theatre show.

Pioneered by Chicago’s triple Michelin-starred restaurant Alinea, it was announced that chef Thomas Keller will be adopting the system at his restaurants Per Se in New York and The French Laundry in Napa Valley as of next year, reports The New York Times.

Likewise, San Francisco chef Daniel Patterson of Coi and Aster will also be converting to the ticketing system in 2015.

Developed by Alinea co-owner Nick Kokonas, the system requires that diners book their tables and pay for their meal online in advance.

Service charges are included.

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While the system has found favor among chefs and restaurateurs for eliminating the frustration of no-shows and cancellations, diners have more to lose as tickets – often in the hundreds of dollars – are non-refundable regardless of the reason, be it illness, traffic or last-minute babysitter cancellations.

doc6hid6mzljaohn6lip1Earlier this year, chef Grant Achatz of Alinea caused an online furore in the food world when he took to Twitter to complain about a couple who brought their crying baby to his restaurant.

The issue? The couple’s sitter had cancelled at the last minute and they had already ponied up about $265 per person for their prepaid dinner. –

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