Restaurant Reservations: Tip-of-the-Day #135


This may sound nuts, but I came across this little money maker completely organically. Several years ago, I had made a Mother’s Day reservation at The French Laundry that, as it turned out, I was unable to use. Needless to say, that reservation was incredibly difficult to obtain; I had to phone the reservation “hotline” three months to the day beforehand, get past all the other people calling in for that same reservation (feels a lot like calling into a radio station to win a contest), then secure the reservation with a credit card because that place means business.

All by way of saying, when it came time to give up this reservation it felt a little like I was giving away something of value. Was there in fact value there? Yes! My very savvy bf came up with the idea of selling the reservation on Craigslist. I was truly dubious at first – thinking, who on earth is going to pay for a reservation at a restaurant that is going to cost a small fortune in and of itself? Well, the people who are dining there are EXACTLY the people that will pay to get in. What’s another couple hundred dollars when you’re going to spend at least a grand on dinner???

And so, that is precisely what we did. We posted a “Reservation at The French Laundry - $200” on Craigslist. We were inundated with interest and sure enough, one fella put his money where his mouth is (no pun intended) and ponied up the cash for it.

This got us to thinking…if there’s clearly a market for these types of reservations, why not make it a practice to book the most popular tables at the most popular restaurants for all the major holidays and then parcel them off bit by bit, ultimately paying for your holidays and then some! It will take some legwork and a little patience on your part…but it can really pay off!

Note: if you don’t end up getting a buyer for your table you’d better cancel within the restaurant’s cancellation period or you’ll be stuck paying a “no show” fee which is no bueno.

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