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sheepish

Reservation touts

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Just spotted on Andy Hayler's blog that reservations for Heston Blumenthal's new place can be had on ebay. And low and behold, valentines lunch for 2 currently yours for £122. Not the meal. Just the reservation.

I wonder if restaurants know about this, and what they think? I've happily bought rugby and music tickets from touts in the past, but something seems very wrong to me about restaurant reservations. Perhaps it's because they are free. And perhaps it's because it's something that really matters, like eating!

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When anything is in demand there's an opportunity to make money. Hestons xmas puds were also on ebay. All one can do is decide how badly we want something

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It sets a very worrying precedent. What's stopping people now making a living from bombarding the likes of the Fat Duck, Noma et al. with reservation requests in order to sell them on ebay?

I think this needs stamping out now before it becomes a problem.

Check out this "bargain" for valentines LUNCH:

http://shop.ebay.co.uk/?_from=R40&_trksid=p5197.m570.l1313&_nkw=dinner+heston+blumenthal&_sacat=See-All-Categories


Edited by olicollett (log)

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The restaurants probably don't care that much - as long as someone turns up for the reservation and pays it doesn't hit them financially.

What might be interesting is what happens if no-one turns up - presumably the person who made the original booking would still be liable for any charges? Presumably they could in turn sue the person who "bought" the reservation from them, but I don't know what the courts' view on that would be.

Even more interesting is what happens if multiple sets of people arrive at the restaurant claiming to be "Mr X" and none of them can actually prove that they made the reservation, or that it was made on their behalf...

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If the restaurants want to stamp down on this they could insist that the meal is paid for with the same credit card that the reservation was made with. Or ring the mobile of the booker upon entry to the restaurant to make sure they are in the party. Gonna complicate concierge bookings and the like though.

The Lowry Hotel in Manchester made the CC thing a condition at the Bourdain event for pre-ordered drinks, but in that case I think it was to cut down on dodgy cards being used... :shock::wink:


In the long run...we are all dead (J M Keynes)

Heston's Disneyland for Sexless Fortysomethings...(Naebody)

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Take this to it's logical extreme where all the hard to get reataurant reservations are on eBay and put there by the reastaurant. You want to visit the Fat Duck, Noma etc, etc bid away. Bids could close 1 month before and any not sold be released as normal reservations. This would allow the restaurant to make more money on the reservation itself.

Personally I think this woul be a very bad thing as only people with the money to pay for the reservation could make it. These establishments are expensive but can be saved for as a treat and using dedication a reservation can often be made (I managed French Laundry, Fat Duck and failed after trying for 5 years with El Bulli). Having resevations open to the bigest bigger would mean that only the wealthy and not those who may appreciate the food were able to eat there. But if you believe in full on capitalisum then why not.


Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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Ummm.. on a side note, did anyone notice the ker-fluffle between "Bob the Trainer" (Tv personality) and a small restauarnt in, Minniapolis, I think it was.

Back to topic...

As ohters have said, 99% of most reservations are made with Visa or other credit cards. Should a restaurant want to stop "scalpers" or "Touts" messing with their reservation system, it would only make sense to take credit card information from the one who made the reservations and only accept payment for the meal on that date from said card. Perhaps this information would be given prior to accepting anyone making reservations?

Contrary to JudyB, If I found out that someone was making over a hundred dollars off of the sweat of my and my employee's respective backs, either I 'd want it to stop immediately, or I'd want over 65% of the scalper's take.

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Even more interesting is what happens if multiple sets of people arrive at the restaurant claiming to be "Mr X" and none of them can actually prove that they made the reservation, or that it was made on their behalf...

I think this is the biggest reason is there is nothing physical to sell, thus it can be sold many times. Would you take the risk? It would be a fraudsters paradise.

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I agree about the whole area being a fraudster's paradise but also feel that there is an element of natural selection at work here. Undoubtedly some people will be conned but I reckon anyone who hands over their hard earned for a restaurant reservation deserves everything that's coming to them.

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I remember a couple of years back, an el Bulli reservation being sold on eBay. The restaurant found out and pulled the reservation as they felt it to be against the spirit of their booking system. The Dinner by Heston reservations weren't hard to come by when the restaurant's site went live. It was all done via OpenTable and didn't even involve calling.

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