Turners restaurant in Birmingham has become the latest to install a pre-pay "ticket" system.
The news comes following the revelation last week that the Clove Club in London would be installing the US-designed "Legacy" system (soon to be renamed Tock), in a bid to reduce the number of "no-shows" it experienced.
Now chef-patron of Turners, Richard Turner (pictured), has announced the he is introducing a similar system in his 28-cover, Michelin-starred restaurant although it will begin as a trial and run on Thursdays only.
The scheme, which is due to run until the end of May, will also see Turner offer diners the chance to save 20% on the Simply Turners a la carte menu on Thursday nights (down from £55 to £45).
Turner said: "Being a Michelin-starred restaurant can be considered to be a bit of a double-edged knife. Diners expect the best in service, food and the highest quality fixtures, fittings and of course tableware, but often don't choose to dine at such restaurants as they perceive them to be expensive. To service the demands of customers we need to keep ahead of the game and maintain high staff levels to attend to their needs at every service. Being one of the smallest Michelin-starred restaurants in the UK, with just 28 covers, our costs remain high. If they decide not to turn up without letting us know, it can make the difference between a profit or loss on certain services."
He added: "To help customers save on Michelin-starred dining, and to maintain our tight margins we have adopted the American ‘Ticket-System' of booking. It is simple, much like booking an airline ticket or theatre, the earlier you book, the better chance you have of dining on your chosen time."
The restaurant ticket system was made famous in the US by restaurateur Nick Kokonas who owns the three-Michelin-starred Alinea restaurant in Chicago. No-shows at Alinea have dropped to just 2% since the process was introduced there. The French Laundry in California has now adopted a similar system.
Customers who want to pre-pay for Turners be required to book on the Turners website via its current booking portal and insert a reference code, which will then see their credit card charged at a flat discounted rate of £45 per head, instead of £55 per head. The restaurant has no plans to use the Tock system for the time being, but may look at other serving times and menus if the trial is a success.
Speaking about the reaction he expected to the decision, Turner said: "We may upset a few people with this Thursday pre-pay system, but I've never been one to make decision lightly and at Turners it's all about the food, but to make the perfect omelette you have to crack a few eggs."