3/07/2012 02:44:00 PM

SF's Saison Switches to Pre-Pay System: Is This the Future of Dining?

The narrative arc of Saison restaurant could be considered a harbinger of San Francisco’s dining trends. What began as a twice-weekly pop-up in a back alley has since morphed into an exclusive fixe lair, racking up accolades along the way. Chef Joshua Skenes hasn’t kept it a secret that he feels his venture has outgrown its scrappy Mission status and locale, and recently reduced capacity from 42 to 18 seats, while he awaits a move to a tonier address.

Now Skenes has announced starting April 10, he will only accept pre-paid reservations, along the lines of what Grant Achatz has done with Next and Alinea, via the start up reservation site SeatMe. He’s also rolling out dynamic pricing (similar to how baseball teams like the San Francisco Giants price tickets based on the popularity of the night), and will begin charging $50 more on the more coveted Friday and Saturday nights. Tickets will be transferable but not refundable. (Note: phone reservations will still be taken day-of, availability permitting.)

Skenes defended the controversial move, which caught a bunch of flack in the San Francisco Chronicle last week, explaining that his “food costs are very high, much more than almost any other restaurant in America, save a few."

What do you think of the new policy? Would you prepay for a reservation you can’t cancel? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to tell us your thoughts on Saison by voting in the SF/Bay Area Restaurants survey.

1 comment :

  1. I understand where he's coming from. We do this for other arts like opera, ballet and anything else where we want a confirmed seat. But if restaurants all start to follow suit I think much less people will reserve and restaurants will lose a lot of customers.