Scalping Dinner Tickets

Jacques_Lameloise_DSCF6580Your favorite band is coming to town. You call, wait in line, or go on the Internet right (immediately) when the tickets go on sale (become available for purchase) hoping to snag (get something difficult to get) some before the event is sold out (without any remaining tickets).

We’re all familiar with this process even if we haven’t tried to get concert (music performance) tickets, but can you imagine going through this to eat at a sought-after (in demand; wanted by many people) restaurant?

Some chefs (professional cooks), tired of people making reservations (appointments to eat) that end up (result) as no-shows (not arriving when planned) or last-minute (close to the planned time) cancellations (announcing that a planned event will not happen), have instituted (put in place; started) a ticket system.

Like going to a concert or show, eating at their restaurants requires a “pre-paid” (paid in advance of the event) ticket. Some chefs say that last-minute cancellations can result in 40% of their tables going empty (without visitors/users). With tickets, they say, that does not happen. Of course, only the most well-known or respected chefs can pull this off (be successful with a plan).

This ticketing system was invented (created) by a Chicago chef named Nick Kokonas in 2011. A ticket to his theme (based on one subject) menu meals costs about $300. The menu changes every four months, so people can buy season tickets (tickets to attend each event during a period of time), just like they would for the symphony (large orchestra of musicians, usually playing classical music) or the ballet (a type of classical dance). Other restaurants charge about $100 for a complete meal and tickets sell out quickly.

Some who criticize this system say that hard-to-get tickets for restaurants have been sold by scalpers (people who resell tickets at a much higher price) similar to concert tickets at exorbitant (unreasonably high) prices.

I don’t have a very sophisticated (knowledgeable) palate (appreciation of flavors), so fine dining (eating at high-quality and fancy restaurants) isn’t usually my cup of tea (not usually what I prefer). I doubt I’ll be buying any of these dinner tickets soon.

Are there top or celebrity chefs where you live, and would you consider buying a ticket to one of their restaurants?

– Jeff

Photo Credit: Jacque Lameloise from Wikipedia


This entry was posted in Life in the United States. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Scalping Dinner Tickets

  1. Takayuki says:

    As far as I know, we don’t have such a service in Japan. Or rather, honestly, I don’t have so much interest in going out for eating and watching or listening something…
    So definitely I say I won’t buy it!

    By the way, in Kyoto, an old city of Japan, they have a well-known business custom called “Ichigen san okotowari(literally meaning is “We refuse any first visiting customer. You need an introduce from someone of our regular customer.”).” Is there similar habit in your culture? I imagine this is kind of ubiquitous thing. Right?

  2. Dan says:

    Hi there Guys

    Like Jeff I am not sophisticated in any of my habits, and my diet is really basic, spartan and simple.
    Moreover, I never go out for a meal, not just in fancy restaurant, but not even in those for the average guy.

    I cannot even recall my last time at a restaurant. it probably was many years ago.
    I must say though, that lukily not everyone is like myself, otherwise there where no restaurant around.

    To give you an example of what I eat, right now I have on the burner pasta boiling with cauliflower and that’s all I am having.
    I like that way, to keep all simple and easy.

    Thank you

  3. Dan says:

    Hi, sorry, me again.

    I was thinking that one of the reasons I do not like going to restaurants is that I do not like being served.

    I enjoy doing things by myself.


  4. Marcos says:


    Fancy restaurants isn’t usually my cup of tea. I rather a simple and healthy food doesn’t matter where or who make it or how sophisticated is the place or food. The more important than that is who around you or by my side when I eating.

    Nice day to us

  5. April says:

    Along with the role of on-line marketing is getting powerful, the “tuangou” or “group-buy” become very popular in China, especially in big city like Shanghai. The concept of group-buy usually is a kit or a set of meal, including several certain dishes, or with alternative options. It also requires you to re-pay on line and make reservation by call. So that the restaurant could avoid the possibility that the guest may cancel the appointment at last minute.

    You may curious about how it apeals to people. The group-buy is always much cheaper than the normal price, usually with 20%-30%discount. It might be a great way for someone who has no dining experience at that restaurant. Base on the group-buy site, you may also judge the taste and the enviornment by checking the comments from others. Same way, you may leave comments as well, the restaurant/the website do care about all the comments, thus they would do their best on services, taste and all your experience at the restaurant.

    The group-buy not only covers restaurant, but also available for spa, hotels, cinema, almost all well-being services you may possibly imagine.

  6. Hilario says:

    Dear Doctor Jeff:
    Regarding this post, I consider that a reservation should imply a booking fee related to the number of people in the particular booking party, and this should be so because fine restaurants work with perishable materials that have to be transformed well in advance in order to be prepared on time to be served at its best. A “formal” web reservation should charge a minimum fee according to the restaurant category. Another claim of restaurant owners is that now a days, people leave the table in order to smoke outside or to answer the mobile. Waiters have to come back the dishes to kitchen shelves and keep them warm while awaiting for them to come back to dining room again. Even some people leaving the table sometimes complaint to waiters about the dish being rather cold when they come back from their absent.

  7. Tania says:

    Hi! I am impressed by the Jonestown Massacre, English Cafe 468.
    On November 18, 1978, 912 people died from drinking the poison, 276 of whom were children.
    We heard about that massacre and in my country.
    There was a time when many men thought they could be our God, especially for young girls and boys.
    Focused on helping people in need, they had an utopian idea , one in which everyone
    lived together in harmony and worked for the common good.
    I saw some movies on this theme.
    Unfortunately, people who had trust in them were their victims, even in my country.

  8. Tania says:

    Hi! Interesting your idea: the danger of the charismatic leader and his cult.
    And all women prefer a charismatic leader. They will vote him anyway.

  9. Tania says:

    Hi! Telling us about the Peoples Temple story and Jone’s religious view, I remember of
    the Utopian Socialism Movement.
    The name “utopian” negatively described unrealistic ideas.
    In his 1516 novel “Utopia”, Thomas Moore described the need for the creation of state that
    practiced religious toleration, freedom of marriage, free education and health care.
    Is it a very bad idea?
    Moore’s utopian vision gained popularity in 19th century.

    We use the same words “utopia” and ” socialism utopic”.

  10. Tania says:

    Hi! Telling us about “resilience”, I can see that we have special laws regarding
    resilient companies, a resilient health care system.
    We just say “rezilient”.

  11. Tania says:

    Hi! Very interesting and the topic “The Adelsverein”, the way how the Germans emigrated in the U.S.

  12. Dan says:

    Hello guys

    I was just thinking that “maybe” I would better start going out little bit more.
    That way, instead of always writing “I do not” I am going to have more to say and write about things.

    Just a little bit of self-criticism and self-mocking.


  13. Tania says:

    Hi! You are right, Dan.
    All of us should write more about all themes of our lessons.

    All the best for you all,


  14. Dan says:

    Hi there everyone

    I do not know whether to find it comforting or not the fact that I am not the only one that does not eat out at restaurants.
    That is what emerges reading the posts above.
    Well, at least I am not alone in that.


Comments are closed.