Last week, the Herald reported that TableXChange will soon be making its way to Boston. TableXChange, for those unfamiliar with the business, is a site that allows consumers to buy and sell reservations for hot restaurants. In an ideal situation, it works something like this: You made a reservation at L’Espalier a month ago, only to come down with a nasty stomach flu on the day of your big dinner. You log on to TableXChange and sell your reservation to a fellow who’s dying to take his wife out for a nice dinner tonight but can’t get a table. Everyone’s a winner! It currently operates in New York, San Francisco, and the Hamptons, and will be adding Boston, Miami, and Las Vegas shortly. TableXChange only offers reservations for selected restaurants on Friday and Saturday nights and reservations may be sold for a maximum of $40.
While we can certainly appreciate the difficulty of making a reservation for peak dining hours, we’re not entirely sold on TableXChange for a number of reasons. First, although the company has tried very hard to explain that they’re not scalpers, it certainly sounds like the system could be open to abuse. While it’s easy to imagine TableXChange operating under optimal conditions, it’s just as easy to imagine groups of scalpers calling L’Espalier for reservations far in advance, booking up the nights, and then unloading them on TableXChange, creating a situation where you have to pay for a reservation at the restaurant. Furthermore, is this service even necessary? OpenTable has made the process of making reservations at most top restaurants mind-bogglingly simple (full disclosure: OpenTable is a MenuPages partner but that’s not why we like it so much) and, frankly, Boston doesn’t have that many restaurants where it’s nigh-on impossible to get a weekend reservation a few days in advance.
What do you think? Would you use TableXChange?
Company has Re$ervations [Boston Herald]
TableXChange [Official Site]
Launches & Releases: Table Exchange, the Non-Scalper Resy Service [Eater]
OpenTable [Official Site]