One resourceful St. Louis resident has taken to selling restaurant reservations (which he made months ago) on Craigslist. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Alex Tillman — a real estate developer and "local entrepreneur" — is offering a range of dinner reservations at several well-known restaurants around the city for procrastinators looking for a table on Valentine's Day. Expect to shell out $29 for the table, however.
He believes it's a "smart way to help out procrastinators."
Tillman tells the paper that making and selling the reservations was an idea he put together "just a few months ago," adding that he believes it's a "smart way to help out procrastinators." While the response has apparently been "very good" — Tillman has apparently received "dozens"of inquiries — the restaurants themselves aren't so pleased. Tillman isn't working directly with the restaurants, and therefore they neither get a cut of the purchase price, nor do they have control on whether or not the seat will be filled.
Local restaurant owner Diane Carr tells the paper that the reservations are not "[Tillman's] to sell." Many fear that if the reservation isn't sold and isn't canceled, they are down what was supposed to be a confirmed table on "one of the busiest nights of the year." Another St. Louis restaurateur tells the paper that while he's not a fan of the concept, he "salutes" Tillman's "ingenuity at making money."
While Tillman understands that restaurants maybe upset, it doesn't matter to him: "I'm a strong believer in capitalism... I don't feel any guilt or anything." If he managed to sell the 15 reservations he listed, Tillman would be able to pocket $435. But is worth all the trouble? The St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that some restaurant owners believed they have "cracked the code" to which reservations Tillman made and sold. Plus, Tillman notes on his personal Facebook paged that he received a "threatening email from OpenTable.com for selling reservations" Thursday afternoon, and the Craigslist posting has now been deleted.
The idea of selling restaurant reservations is not new, and has drummed up a lot of controversy. New York City-based mobile app and startup Resy essentially does the the same thing, offering up a handful of reservations at restaurants for a price. Unlike Tillman, however, Resy works with the restaurants to list the reservations. Other companies like Table8 — which is based in San Francisco — also offer up last-minute reservations at popular restaurants for a fee.