It's near-impossible to glance over the fact that the owner of PrimeTimeTables, Pascal Riffaud, is married to Karine Bakhoum, the owner of restaurant public relations firm KB Network News. So, let's not glance over it.
Yesterday afternoon, Eater talked to Bakhoum about PrimeTime, why it's not a reservations scalper, and, of course, about the nature of the relationship between KB and PTT. Here's what she had to say.
Eater: First of all, is there a relationship between KB Network News and PrimeTime Tables? Do you represent them?
KB: My husband has his own businesses; it has nothing to do with KB Network News. I don't rep PrimeTimeTables, nor do I think they need or want representation. I certainly don't help him with reservations -- he doesn't come to us for tables.
Eater: You sent us an official statement from PrimeTime.
KB: As Pascal's wife. I told him we had to articulate on paper what he was doing -- for you!
Eater: He's lucky to have you. To be direct, how is PTT not a reservation scalper?
KB: It's simply not. The business is not scalping tables. This is a service. In NY people outsource everything from walking their dogs to doing their laundry. Clients of PTT don't have the time or patience to call a month in advance for their reservations, nor do they want their personal assistants on the phone all day with restaurants. PrimeTimeTables charges their customers for the service of providing reservations. It is so hard to get a reservation in NY between 7 and 9 PM. Sure anyone can go to dinner on their own at 5 or 10, but who wants to?
The people who use the service are very busy and often don't know 30 days ahead of time where they'll be eating. These are executives at Sony, Citigroup, Bear Stearns, Deutsch Bank. Let's say Mr. Yamaguchi is in town for a $19 billion deal. He's not going to worry about where the deal-making meal is going to be.
Eater: How do you think restaurateurs, your clients or otherwise, feel about him tying up their tables?
KB: I think restaurants should be saying thank you. The PrimeTimeTable client is well-heeled. It's the type of client restaurants should want. These are tables that are going to be ordering expensive wine and not worrying about the bill; real diners, business executives with real income. The bottom line is that the restaurateurs he's spoken to don't mind at all. Plus, he doesn't book huge blocks of tables. He books to anticipate his demand and any tables he doesn't use are canceled by noon, day-of. If he tried to get a table back at 12:05 it'd be gone.
· PrimeTimeTables: Just Some Basic Facts [~E~]
· PrimeTimeTables: 'We Are NOT Selling Tables at Restaurants' [~E~]
· PrimeTimeTables: Let the Takedown Begin [~E~]
· PrimeTimeTables: WTF? [~E~]