Just five months into its experiment with a ticketed reservation system, chef Jose Garces has abolished ticketing at his high-end tasting menu restaurant Volver. Eater Philly reports that the Garces Group switched to a more traditional reservation system starting today by abolishing pre-paid tickets and directing guests to a reservation page at OpenTable.
When Volver debuted earlier this year, Garces's embrace of ticketed reservations — which sells restaurant seats like those at sporting events or concerts — marked the first restaurant to do so in Philadelphia. But many diners criticized Volver's chosen tickets platform, Thundertix, for being difficult to navigate: In a July review, Eater critic Ryan Sutton wrote that he "spent 30 Sisyphean minutes navigating through various pitfalls in the system, gave up, took a hot shower, regrouped, then called the restaurant and purchased my reservations over the phone in 120 seconds."
However, Volver's now-traditional reservation policy comes with a hefty fee for no-shows: $75 per person for a no-show, or $50 if the cancellation comes with an advanced notice. (For many restaurateurs, one of the benefits of a ticketing system like the one developed by Nick Kokonas is that it helps cut down on no-shows.) Eater Philly reports the reservation change may be part of a larger overhaul: Garces and his team have also lowered prices for the tasting menu, as well.