How's about a little check-in on the PrimeTimeTables situation, an odious tale of the first-ever reservation scalper, slowly but surely riveting the NY eating set—and not necessarily in a good way? To review, PrimeTimeTables is a newly-launched website that for a fee promises eaters access to the best reservations in town, from Robuchon to Nobu to, they claim, Per Se. No up front fees are required for base memberships to the service and tables cost about $45 a pop.
Not surprisingly, a couple of things have happened since last Thursday, when we all started talking about this:
1) Readers reacted, and divided into two camps. On the one hand there were some who were not bothered by the service. Point: "How is this different from using a connection to score a tough table?...And yes, I have bought tickets from scalpers." On the other hand, the masses are not happy. (The debate rages on at eGullet as well.) Counterpoint:
"This has got to be one of the more scummy ideas to hit the restaurant scene in NYC in a while. If it wasn't hard enough before to get a reservation at some the more coveted tables in town, now you have to compete with people taking placeholders under fake names and trying to peddle them...i suspect the restaurants will have to figure out a way to prevent this...let's hope so."
2) Restaurateurs are not pleased, such as our resident proprietor, William Tigertt, of Freemans. His take: "This system hurts everyone as they will have to book tables all over town every night to create "inventory." That means that you won't be able to get a table because this sketchy website has four of them reserved, even if they don't show up. Expect more no-shows then ever and harder tables all around. Bad idea." We've also learned that at least one of the top restaurant ownerships in the city is readying an attack of unknown type against PrimeTimeTables.
3) For their part, PrimeTimeTables continues its press push, today landing itself in both the Post and Thrillist. Thrillist's take: "As for how PTT does what it does, it's like hiring someone to unclog a toilet, or "sort out" your neighbor's dog -- as long as you don't have to do anything, don't worry your pretty little head." Also, a "Thrillist-only" referral code is revealed, ostensibly to expedite membership applications: gastineau99
The next chapter of this story may nor may not reveal who is behind said service. And from there, all hell may or may not break loose. For now, those who wish to test out PTT, and report back, should use referral code gastineau99 (itself a tad offensive), which should be good for at least another five seconds.
· PrimeTimeTables: WTF? [~E~]