SAN FRANCISCO (CBS) – A new startup website that sells reservations to hot restaurants has set off a storm of controversy.
It’s called ReservationHop.com. The site invites you to sell your reservation and for $5-12 you can buy someone else’s. Similar websites already exist in New York City. Once you pay for it, you are given an assumed name to use when you get there – and voila… you’re in.
The problem is, your reservation was most likely booked by the website’s creator, Brian Mayer.
According to Mayer, “I book reservations under assumed names, list them on ReservationHop.com, and price them according to the cost of the restaurant… I built it over the weekend after waiting at ‘Off the Grid’ for 30 minutes for a burrito.”
While a few of the responses to ReservationHop.com were positive, most folks were hopping mad. They questioned the ethics of selling something that should be free, and fear ReservationHop.com will ultimately create an artificial scarcity in a city where it’s hard enough to get a good table.
After all the fuss, Mayer wrote a blog, “How I Became The Most Hated Person In SF, For A Day.” In it, he said the threats and complaints were at times excessive, but conceded people may have a point. “In the interest of fairness and ethics, I’m going to talk to restaurants about working with them directly on a better reservation system,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, when CBS5.com checked the site, reservations at hot SF eateries Nopa, Greens, State Bird Provisions, and SPQR had all been “claimed” for unspecified prices. But, there was a table for 2 at Foreign Cinema to be had for $12.
Bon appetite anyone?