This Thursday, Ludo Lefebvre finally unveils Trois Mec, the tiny Hollywood restaurant conceived of by the French chef with help from his partners, Animal's Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo. At only 26 seats, Trois Mec was challenged to find a way to make diners commit to their reservations by forming a brand-new model for L.A. Krissy Lefebvre tells The L.A. Times, If "one table doesn't show up for each seating, that's more than 10% of our business... Then there's labor costs. If a table doesn't show up, we've probably overstaffed by one person." So instead of sticking to the traditional method of taking a reservation in the form of a verbal agreement, the type that led to the controversial "Twitter shaming" of no-shows at Red Medicine last month, Trois Mec will feature a pre-sale ticket totaling nearly $100, the first of its kind in L.A., though the method is employed at restaurants like Chicago's Alinea and Next.
In fact, Alinea's Nick Kokonas feels that tickets could be the savior of restaurants suffering lost revenue to no-shows, saying, "It's not just for the Alineas of the world but the little Chinese place down the street." Of course, it is currently only the Alineas and Momofukus of the world, and other in-demand restaurants where the food crowd would happily trade a digit for a table, that can get away with such elaborate schemes at this point.
Tickets for Trois Mec are purchased on the restaurant's website at a combined total of $97.13, which includes the $75 charge for a five-course prix-fixe menu, along with tax and an 18% service charge. Not only will these non-refundable tickets ensure people show up to their tables, but the Lefebvres' new place is predictably hot enough that dinner service will start no matter how slow your friends are in getting to the reserved seating, with tickets for two weeks of reservations available every other Friday at 8:00 A.M.
"We considered everything — no reservations, putting a deposit on a credit card," Krissy Lefebvre explains to writer Betty Hallock. "But people pay for tickets for entertainment. This just happens to be entertainment in the form of dinner."
What do you think? Will non-refundable tickets turn you off of a restaurant? Or do you approve of the innovation? We'd love to know your thoughts in the comments.