They are serving 20+ courses, though, over the course of 3 hours at a minimum. How well do you think they could scale up in terms of either diners served or number of turns done? And while a nice online system is probably better for everyone, taking reservations by phone certainly isn't ridiculous, is it? It's what everyone would have done several years ago.
The old Roberta's model did suck, but they changed it. And even if any of these places were on OT, it's not like you could get an 8 PM same-day reservation anyway. I mean, look at Per Se (ex Salon), JG, and Daniel.
Right. This might be an inevitable problem with these restaurants. That's why they can't be a universal model for fine-dining restaurants.
PS -- The fact that they serve a mandatory 20+ courses over the course of three hours at a minimum might be considered by some to be ANOTHER downside.
PPS -- Per Se, JG, Daniel, sure. But that kind of demand only affects the very top
-- or at least most popular -- traditional restaurants. With the dining counter/tasting menu places, if they're popular at all
, their formats dictate that they'll be nearly impossible to get into. Look at Atera. Hell, look at Degustation (at least in its earlier years). It was a fine restaurant, but no one would have said it was on the Per Se level. But it was really really hard to get a seat there. For obvious reasons.