A group of scalpers have made more than 100 reservations under false names for The Fat Duck pop-up in Melbourne. As previously reported, English chef Heston Blumenthal is moving his famed Bray, England to Australia for six months starting in February. Tickets to the pop-up — which cost nearly $475 per person — were sold through a ballot system. Good Food notes that while nearly 250,000 applicants were unable to score seats, a group of financial professionals managed to secure multiple tickets thanks to a scam.
Two weeks before the online reservation application system opened, the three professionals hired an IT expert to "write a computer program to bypass the controls that limit how many times they could apply." After submitting more than 800 applications, they managed to secure over 50 tables, ranging from two to six seats each. The scammers are now apparently selling the reservations to friends and colleagues at cost or are gifting them to clients.
Good Food notes that there was another group of scammers that used "similar methods" as the trio of financial professionals. They managed to snag over 40 tables but are selling the tickets at profit, tacking on over $400 to the price of each ticket. Since only 16,000 seats were made available, SBS writes that many who were not able to secure a ticket by legal methods are quite angry.