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At upmarket SF restaurant, non-refundable meal tickets help tackle no-shows

Food & Drink

San Francisco restaurant Coi is introducing a ticketing system for its reservations, enabling diners to pay a flat fee and managers to avoid the headache of cancellations.

The way diners pay for a meal has remained largely unchanged in the last few decades — customers reserve a table for free, pay for what they order and leave a tip at the end. Startups such as Cover have previously aimed to shake up this model, with automatic payments that enable guests to simply eat and leave without waiting for the bill. Now San Francisco restaurant Coi is introducing a ticketing system for its reservations, enabling diners to pay a flat fee and managers to avoid the headache of cancellations.

Owned by Daniel Patterson, the 2-star Michelin rated venue is no longer accepting reservations from customers who aren't paying in advance. Instead, diners can buy tickets for between USD 145 and USD 195 — depending on the time and date — for a set number of people. The ticket will get them a set tasting menu of 12 courses for each guest, with drinks purchased separately on the night. If diners can't make the reservation they can't get a refund, but they can use Coi's name transferring service if they manage to sell the tickets to someone else.

This system means that the restaurant has a more accurate idea of how many covers they're going to get because reservations can't be cancelled. If diners are a no-show, the venue still gets paid anyway. For customers, the scheme enables them to take advantage of a flat fee for their meal, meaning they won't get a unexpectedly large bill at the end.

The Coi system is based on similar existing ticketing initiatives at Nick Kokonas' Chicago-based Alinea and Next eateries. Could this system work for your restaurant?

Website: www.coirestaurant.com

Contact: www.coirestaurant.com/about

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