The highly anticipated season tickets for Next, that included the coveted elBulli menu, went on sale on Saturday with an alert on Facebook on Friday night that "tickets would go on sale Saturday February 11, sometime after 8 p.m. "elBulli Time." Keeping true to their promise, tickets went on sale at 1:12 p.m. Chicago time (8:12 p.m. in Roses, Spain) and the frenzy began.
Eater emailed with Next co-owner Nick Kokonas who said that "the queue reached 1,500 within 10 seconds of turning the sales page on... so in reality you had to be there within 8-10 seconds to have a shot at season tix."
Kokonas is still working on getting final numbers from the database, but it appears that over 6,660 were in the queue for season tickets. The tickets took six hours to completely sell out due to the 50 person waiting room limit. There were 25,797 unique visitors to the site, and over 500,000 page views (even though Kokonas gave instructions via Facebook that refreshing would only hurt your chances of getting tickets). Saturday nights and kitchen tables were the first to sell.
Only one glitch occurred early on in the sale when 37 people received emails out of order. The issue was quickly resolved and everything went in order after that. Of course that didn't stop Facebook followers from posting their frustration throughout the sale.
For those that missed out on season tickets, but would still like to experience the elBulli menu, Next will offer up a table for two each night via a website that will hold a Dutch auction, likely beginning next week. The starting price will be $4,000 and unlike regular auctions, Dutch auctions slowly lower the price until a bidder accepts the auctioneer's price. 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the University of Chicago Cancer Center, where Grant Achatz underwent his treatment for tongue cancer. Additional tickets will be available for the Sicily and Kyoto menus at a later date.