By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Minnesota restaurant thinks it has the solution to waiting in line for a table.

Next week, Travail in Robbinsdale will become the first restaurant in the state to sell tickets.

The concept is just like going to a concert or football game.

“Lines form because we don’t take reservations,” co-owner James Winberg said.

Since 2010 people have lined up outside to get inside Travail for a taste of its award-winning cuisine.

Now the Robbinsdale restaurant’s three chefs and co-owners want to try something new to help customers have a better dining experience.

“We’re selling tickets,” co-owner Mike Brown said.

About 75 percent of Travail’s seats will now be filled by selling advance tickets.

The meal will be cheaper on low-demand days, but will cost more during those high-demand or peak times, like Friday and Saturday nights.

“It’s a full dining experience that includes tip and tax and everything at a ticketed price,” Brown said.

There is a service charge on top of every ticket price. Beer and libations will cost extra.

Travail’s co-owners say now customers have options.

“They can sit at their computer, and say, ‘I want to go on a Saturday, March whatever at this time,’ and it’s done, it’s bought, paid for and over with. There are no worries,” Winberg said.

Travail is not letting go of what made it popular.

“We’re still very, very strongly first-come, first-serve, but right now, we’re trying to give 35 percent of the entire building a reservation option,” Brown said.

It’s sister restaurant, the Rookery, is able to handle those who want to come in and hang with friends without buying a ticket in advance.

Travail has tried this advance ticket sale before, at one of its pop-up restaurants in North Minneapolis.

They say the positive feedback from people made it easy to try this new concept.

It’s just like buying a ticket for a Vikings game. If you can’t go, you must find someone to take your place — sell it or lose out.

Reg Chapman

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