Atera Now Requires You to Pay Before You Eat

You can't cancel on Lightner.
You can't cancel on Lightner. Photo: Melissa Hom

It’s hard enough to get a reservation at Atera, but maybe it’ll be a little easier now that the restaurant’s working to weed out the flaky folks. Before you even take a bite, you’re charged the full cost of the $165 prix fixe dinner in advance, plus tax and 18 percent gratuity. Though all sales are final, reservations are transferable. This model is similar to that used in Chicago’s Next and Alinea — their online ticketing system is wildly successful in increasing demand; people click with the same fervor as teenage girls trying to get seats to a Bieber concert. Matthew Lightner started enforcing prepayment a month ago, and he says “guests have not had an issue with it, unless they are trying to cancel last minute.” He’s thinking about implementing a reliable ticket transfer system so people aren’t screwed if they change their minds. [The Bad Deal]