Poll Results: Ticketed Dining in Philly, Yes or No?

By Danya Henninger  |  April 17, 2014
Credit: Danya Henninger

On Wednesday, ticketed dining made its debut in Philadelphia with the launch of Volvér. Last week we asked for your opinions on pre-paying for a seat, and the results are in.

A Good Concept

Regarding whether ticketed dining is a good idea in general, only 25% came back with a flat out “No,” ticketed dining is not a good idea, and though explanations were optional, none of the naysayers added insights as to why there were opposed.

Nearly half (47%) responded with a resounding “Yes.” Why is it a good idea? Answers ranged from “easier to budget” and “less hassle at the end of the meal” to “guarantees that I will get an excellent experience,” and the fact that the restaurant would definitely be aware of any allergies or dietary restrictions. Unsurprisingly, just about everyone who agrees with the concept is planning to buy tickets to Volvér at some point.

Not All Fans Are Convinced

Of the half (47%) who do not plan to buy Volvér tickets, a full third are “Jose Garces fans,” so despite the Iron Chef’s popularity, it seems not all of his supporters are into the new concept. Some reasons given are that not being allowed to cancel is unworkable - what if someone gets sick? - and that Garces won’t always be in the kitchen himself.

Several people (26%) think ticketed dining would work in some circumstances but not others. “If it covers everything” and the price is reasonable, it makes sense, said one respondent. Many who are not planning to pick up Volvér tickets did say they’d consider doing so for other Philadelphia restaurants, were they to offer. Sbraga, Fork, Zahav, Laurel and Vernick were most often picked as places where diners wish they could pre-pay.

The Takeaway

It’s a toss up. A glance at the ticketing page for Volvér shows there are a few tables remaining for opening weekend still, and plenty throughout the next month. We haven’t really had a chance to hear feedback from those who attend, so it’s quite possible that good reviews (online and the critics), could makes these pricey seats ($75-$175 and up) more of a hard-to-get item.

We also don’t know how full Volvér’s dining room has to be for the whole venture to be considered successful - the drop-in lounge next door has the potential to bring in a ton of revenue on its own. Will ticketed dining be successful in Philadelphia? Time will tell.