Reservation scalping is a contentious issue (remember it flaring up around this time last year?), but this should make you feel better about it: Bree Casart and Mark Faktorovich, a fashion buyer and a tech whiz at HP who met while they were getting their MBAs at NYU, have launched a site that lets you bid on 8 p.m. two-tops without having to line the pockets of some sketchball on Craigslist — in fact, restaurants like Le Cirque, BONDST, and db Bistro Moderne are completely onboard with it because the money goes to the Food Bank for New York City. Casart tells us that for the site’s Valentine’s-weekend launch, about twenty restaurants agreed to donate a prime-time table each weeknight, and she hopes to offer reservations from about 140 restaurants when Table Envy fully launches in the spring. Here’s how the site works.
Tables start at $100. If no one flat-out buys the reservation at that price during the first 24 hours, the “buy it now” price is lowered every hour. At this point, you can place a bid for under $100, and (assuming you’re the high bidder) you’ll win the reservation when the price lowers to the amount of your bid. Or you can try your luck waiting till the last day of the auction, when, if no one has bid, the “buy it now” price lowers to $5. Casart says the site made its first sale this morning — a table at ABC Kitchen went for $100 after the site was touted on UrbanDaddy, meaning that next time an ABC Kitchen table goes up for auction, it’ll be priced at $150, to reflect the marketplace for the reservation. So there you have it — this Valentine’s Day, you can impress your date with a prime-time table and show off your giving ways.
Table Envy [Official site]