What Recession: NYC Targets Crackdown On $250 To $1000 Dinner Reservation Resellers

What Recession: NYC Targets Crackdown On $250 To $1000 Dinner Reservation Resellers

It’s tough to make the case for a recession when Bloomberg just pointed out that more than 30,000 people have flocked to a service called Appointment Trader to help them make ritzy dinner reservations in New York City on a secondary reservation market. 

The service helps make $250 to as much as $1,000 dinner reservations at some of New York’s best dining spots, though the practice of buying reservations has now come under threat by “New York’s proposed Restaurant Reservation Anti-Piracy Act”, the report says.

We bet you didn’t even know there was a proposed Restaurant Reservation Anti-Piracy Act.

And despite the cost, scoring a table at popular spots like Carbone, Cote, Coqodaq, or Don Angie won’t necessarily get easier, the report says, noting that reservation resellers are still seeing high demand. 

Joel Montaniel, chief executive officer of reservation booking platform Sevenrooms, who works with companies like Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, told Bloomberg: “There are some restaurants that people can’t get into.”

“I’ve even talked to restaurateurs, we’ve hosted them on panels and asked them for tips to get in, and they say, ‘I don’t have them,’” he continued.

If New York Governor Kathy Hochul signs the recent bill into law, websites will need restaurant permission to offer bookings. Aimed at curbing bots used by scalpers, the law targets practices blamed for making reservations at popular restaurants harder to get, favoring wealthier diners.

Platforms like Resy, Sevenrooms, and OpenTable, which partner directly with restaurants, won’t be affected. However, services like Appointment Trader and Cita might no longer advertise the city’s top tables. Appointment Trader Founder Jonas Frey argues that his platform’s success is due to the existing scarcity of reservations, not the cause of it.

Frey said: “There were just too many diners for too few restaurants. I believe we’re serving a need. That’s why it worked.”

“We’re certainly not going to stop operating because we can’t operate in New York,” he added. 

Sevenrooms data shows NYC restaurant cancellations rose to 19% last month from 17.5% last year, while the national rate fell to 11.6%. Appointment Trader’s Jonas Frey argues his service addresses reservation scarcity, not causes it, and plans to shift focus if the law impacts operations.

Amy Zhou of Gracious Hospitality supports the bill, citing significant revenue loss due to bot-driven cancellations at popular venues like Cote Korean Steakhouse.

Tyler Durden
Wed, 06/19/2024 – 16:05