Grant Achatz's Next Restaurant just opened and already tickets have popped up on Craigslist and eBay, selling from $500 to $3000. Co-owner Nick Kokonas told Eater Chicago that he was "surprised how quickly" tickets showed up.
We're not. For those lucky enough to score reservations, certainly some of them must have had the intention to re-sell their tickets all along, especially with the potentially high profit margins. The crop of Craigslist tickets range in perceived value, as some include wine pairings, while the $3000 ticket advertises the much-coveted chef's table. Original ticket prices are as low (relatively speaking) as $85 per person. (This whole secondary market for Next tickets makes us wonder: does food taste better when you know you'll never be able to have it again?)
The jury is out on whether this ticketing system will be a successful reservation concept, even for such a high-demand, rotating-concept restaurant (read more about the concept here, here, here and here). With tickets selling for such high prices, the process currently seems to favor those who are willing and able to spend top dollar to secure a seat. Kokonas tells the AV Club that they are not encouraging scalping and Next requires the confirmation of both parties of any ticket transfers. "I wish I could stop it but we cannot legally do so any more than the Cubs," he says.
Clearly hearing it from those who sense their chances of enjoying the 3-month Escoffier run at Next dwindling, Achatz echoed this same messaging over Twitter on Friday:
So, just think of Next as sort of a perpetual World Series! Games every night, new teams every three months.