I got an email from the President of TableXchange to see what I thought. TableXchange is a new website that allows patrons of restaurants to create a open market place where people can buy and sell their restaurant reservations.
It is not scalping, per se because reservations are free. In essence, if you happen to have a reservation at Babbo at 8pm on Tuesday night, and it ends up you can’t make it, instead of calling Babbo and releasing the reservation, you can sell it on the open market. It appears that the average cost right now are around $20-30 for a reservation. It could be called the Ebay of restaurant reservations.
So, what do I think? I am not so sure I like this idea. Mario Batali will tell you that if they are going to make money off getting reservations at his restaurant, he should get the cash, not the seller since ultimately he is the seller. What if people start making reservations under pseudonym names to make a little side profit. All of a sudden, the normal Joe can’t make a reservation even a month in advance. Should reservations for the top restaurants become a free market? I am not so sure.
The success of restaurants have to do with a variety of things. I don’t now if the success should be sold on an open market or the lack of. Certainly creates a very different market place. Also this creates a market for the have and have-nots. A special dinner at one of the finest restaurants in NYC not only costs you a wad it also costs $30 for the reservation. Hmmm.
I wonder what Danny Meyer thinks.