The value of reservations

Recently a Phoenix restaurant, Tuck Shop, began using a system started by Chicago restaurateur Nick Kokonas of Alinea, where they sell “tickets” for restaurant reservations. The new method of “buying” reservations was an effort to combat the 8% to 10% of no-shows at restaurants. Basically, diners have to place a non-refundable deposit in advance of their reservations. Once they arrive at their tables, the deposits are added to their tabs in the form of a credit. In addition, the price of the deposit fluctuates based on the demand time of the reservation. An early-bird dinner will cost less than high-demand slots of 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

From the hotel side, our food and beverage directors are not quite ready to take the plunge with this concept, but are very intrigued. It’s a fascinating idea that should be considered for prime holiday periods where we would have typically taken a credit card to hold reservations.

What are your thoughts? Do you think this concept will become mainstream?