Well, that was fast: Less than a week after launching, Brian Mayer, the founder of ReservationHop, announced on his blog that his start-up is going to do a "soft pivot" or some sort of back-peddling. ReservationHop — a new entrant in the pay-to-play reservation wars — drummed up a lot of controversy this week when it launched. The company makes reservations at popular restaurants under false names and then sells them for around $8-$12 dollars, more or less capitalizing on something that is already free.
Many found that it was "essentially a restaurant scalping site" that failed to take into account its effect on restaurants. Mayer initially defended the company, writing in a previous post (cached) that the company was ethical and benefited customers and restaurants. Mayer now writes that after "speaking and meeting with restaurant owners" that the company will be "evolving" and that his "early assumptions about customers or restaurants" may have been false.
He adds that it is possible that "there are better services we can offer to the foodies of San Francisco that are more scalable. Or we may find that this entire venture doesn't really have a large enough addressable market." For now, the site marches on, but Mayer promises ReservationHop is working with "restaurants directly" to cut them in on a deal where they are paid for filling tables.