Would You Pay For A Restaurant Meal When You Make The Reservation?

It’s one thing to make a reservation at a restaurant and get charged for failing to show up, but would you be willing to prepay for your meal at the same time you make your reservation? Some businesses are betting that devoted diners will be willing to pay for their meals before they ever arrive at the restaurant.

Two restaurants from chef and owner Thomas Keller, Per Se in New York and French Laundry in Napa Valley are going to switch to a new advance-ticketing system in 2015, reports the New York Times. If you are unfamiliar, these are fancy establishments, known to be hard to get into. People probably drink tea with their pinkies up in there, or so I’ve heard.

Anyway, here’s it works: Before patrons arrive, they pay for their tables online in full, weeks or months in advance. That’s a nonrefundable transaction, and it includes service charges. Diners only need pay for liquor charges at the end of the meal, because who can ever predict how many bottles of wine you-know-who will end up ordering?

The system is called Tock, and has been used by a couple other restaurants since 2012. It’s not yet widely available, but when it expands its services to other restaurants, the system will be flexible enough to allow for varying fees and whether or not to include tips ahead of time. (It should be noted that Keller is an investor in Tock).

It’s good for restaurants as it helps solve the problem of no-shows, but is paying ahead something that floats your boat?

Per Se to Join Restaurants Charging in Advance [New York Times]

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