Couldn't Snag That Dinner Reservation? Check Reddit

Especially if you live in a metropolitan city with a big foodie scene, getting a dinner reservation at a popular upscale restaurant can be quite the ordeal. Some restaurants only release reservations seven days in advance, and at others you might be required to place them by 9 a.m. But whether you call the restaurant directly or go through a third party seating app, sometimes you just can't get a table when you really want it. That's where Reddit may come in handy, Eater reports.

Across the FoodNYC subreddit, there's recently been an influx of posts by users offering up reservations at the most coveted restaurants in the city. The reason for this, Yahoo Finance explains, is that the spike in positive cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has also led to an increase in reservation cancellations. San Francisco restaurateur David Nayfeld informed the publication that cancellations now average between 30% to 45% every night.

Offloading a reservation at a Michelin-star restaurant, however, isn't always that easy. One Redditor posted on r/FoodNYC in hopes of selling their four-person New Year's Eve dinner reservation at Eleven Madison Park for $1,524.25. Another user in a separate r/FoodNYC thread advertised a two person reservation at Atomix for $707.69.

Selling dinner reservations can be risky

$1,500 for a dinner reservation might seem exorbitant, but according to Eater, a paid reservation is normal for many upscale restaurants and dining experiences. Some reservation apps and websites, The Atlantic shares, charge as much as $25 per reservation — this fee is in addition to your actual dining bill.

Unfortunately, as Eater points out, these fees are usually non-refundable, forcing customers to turn to platforms like Reddit. This has even prompted the r/FoodNYC moderators to announce specific guidelines ensuring the practice is conducted responsibly. For example, selling dinner reservations is only permitted if the asking price is below or equal to face value. "One penny more than the exact amount you paid and you will be banned. This is not StubHub," the subreddit stresses.

Reservation platform Tock has similar guidelines. Though transferring reservations is allowed, "If we see an IP address that is doing this multiple times, we block them and their associated email address accounts from buying future bookings as they are likely a scalper," Tock Founder Nick Kokonas told Eater.

As long as you resell your reservation according to the Tock or Reddit guidelines, you can make another diner happy to get a seat an otherwise sold out restaurant while feeling safe and (financially) secure in your decision to stay home.