4 Star Restaurant Creates Blue Ocean Strategy, Amazing.
Creates New Cash Model also!
A creative business model, surely to be copied by other highly rated Restaurateurs, if they have the nerve. Simply put, copy the Broadway theatre ticket model by charging for your eating experience upfront, from a limited menu that changes only four times a year. Exceed customer expectations and create a feeding frenzy (no pun intended) where demand exceeds supply.
Results: lower food costs, increases cash flow and profit margins and creates a "got to be there" atmosphere!
*“Grant Achatz, the celebrated modernist chef, and his business partner and patron, Nick Kokonas, have opened a restaurant, Next in Chicago, that offers a new model of fine dining. Service has become theater at Next, right down to the price of admission.
As at the Steppenwolf Theater down the street from Mr. Achatz’s first restaurant, the much-lauded and science-mad Alinea, which opened in 2005, Next requires a willing suspension of disbelief: in this case that great cooks can embody any role, cook anything well, from any larder, at any time. It rewards that conviction with giddy excitement, real passion and occasionally with art. It is a daring conceit that far less talented chefs and restaurateurs may try to copy, in return for the regular bursts of attention it ensures.
It is not easy to eat at Next. The restaurant has only 62 seats and no phone number: Mr. Kokonas has designed the business so that the tickets are sold only through the Web site, nextrestaurant.com, where they are generally snatched up the moment they are released. Prices are variable, as on Broadway. Two seats at Next on a Wednesday night at 9:30 p.m. are $130. On a Saturday night at 7 p.m., they are $220. (Wine pairings run an extra $75 a person regardless of time or day. A nonalcoholic pairing is $38.) Tax and a service charge are built into the cost.
In this, too, other restaurants may discover a model. There are no slow nights at Next, as every seat has been sold in advance, and thus no issues of cash flow. Tickets are nonrefundable, just as at the opera or the ballpark.
Customers create an account on the restaurant’s Web site and ask to be notified by e-mail when new tickets are available. When they are, the buyers return to the Web site to choose a date, time and table price. Then they pay.
If tickets are still available, that is. They go in seconds. Some customers are lucky, fleet of finger and mouse. Some increase their odds by using multiple browsers set with homemade ticket-bots to refresh the screens and grab tickets automatically.
Others sigh in frustration, and turn to secondary markets that have arisen on Craigslist and Facebook to serve those not nimble enough to secure seats on their own.
Scalping is not uncommon (“Looking for 4 tickets to Next Restaurant on August 17,” read a Craigslist ad in early August. “Willing to pay. Let me know”). But Mr. Achatz said in a telephone interview that diners are increasingly using the restaurant’s Web site to sell tickets at face value, helped in part by a “transfer tickets” tool. “
*Excerpts taken from New York Times Restaurant Review... http://tinyurl.com/3e5obqk