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There's this thing here in Copenhagen: http://www.goldentable.com/restaurants-copenhagen/

A number of top restaurants (otherwise booked, on a Saturday night, for 2 weeks) auction off a single table, where 50% of the proceeds go to the restaurant, and the rest to a foundation for gastronomical research.

Another approach is to require a credit card and charge almost the price of a full dinner if you don't show up. The 41 in Barcelona goes one step further and makes you pre-purchase the entire meal.

Some guests will spend another $300 on an expensive bottle of wine. I think it's fine to let some people pay extra in advance to be guaranteed to get a table.

Alinea and Next in Chicago both use a pre-purchase ticket approach. They also open up tickets on a monthly basis a couple weeks in advance, and all the reasonable times are gone basically immediately. And both are far from cheap places.

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