For as long as celebrity-filled fine dining has existed, people have been yelling for entry, exchanging contacts, making phone calls, and oiling their palms. But it seems like every restaurant in New York is that kind of restaurant these days.
in the pandemic In an era — with business hours often shortened and the public eager to eat out again — the competition for tables has reached a frenzied pitch on electronic booking platforms.
“Within 5 seconds without over-decorating, basically all reservations are taken,” said Steve Saed, who started #FreeRezy, a free electronic forum where people can exchange reservations. “It’s like winning the lottery to eat at these places,” he added.
But a new generation of tactics has emerged to help would-be diners cross the line, including next-day concierge service. Non-fungible token Grant owners special privileges, member-only credit card benefits, and a private ‘club staurant’. What they all have in common is that they are expensive.
Alex Lee, CEO of Resy and Vice President of American Express Dining, said: He runs the company’s global dining network. It’s a program that gives some American Express members (American Express owns his Resy) access to certain restaurant benefits through the booking platform.
As he suggested, this program is just a natural evolution of that hidden $20. Global Dining Access members receive priority reservations at top restaurants across the United States for hundreds or even thousands of dollars in credit card fees per year. “Access is the first thing customers want, right?” Lee said.
But for some members-only restaurants, reservations alone aren’t enough.
Haiku, a privately owned sushi restaurant in Miami, does the math a little differently. The restaurant accepts members by invitation only, with an annual fee, and requires reservations at least four times a year for its 10- to 12-course kaiseki-style omakase menu. The restaurant declined to discuss the application process or pricing.
Major Food Group partner Jeff Zalaznick is just a little bit closer with plans for ZZ’s Club’s New York debut featuring the members-only Carbone. Like the first ZZ’s in Miami to offer members access to a Japanese restaurant, sushi bar, bar and lounge, and cigar terrace, ZZ’s Club New York brings the Major Food Group experience to the financial and social elite. (Like Haiku, Major Food Group does not disclose its fees or application process.)
But given the recent loss of the original Carbone, Michelin star — It is already impossible to enter. Do you really want a more limited version just two miles away?
“One of the great things about being a private members club is the fact that we can tailor all aspects of food and drink to our guests to an even higher level than we could in a public restaurant,” said Zaraznick. Told.
This means knowing what members want and how exactly they want it. How do they eat steak? Do they prefer distilled or sparkling water? What is their standing order?
Diners can get all of these things at London’s Import Casa Cruz on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, but with a stratospheric price tag. The top-floor dining room is reserved for her 99 members of the restaurant’s “partner investor group,” who paid her $250,000 to $500,000 to join.
“I think there is demand for curation,” said Noah Tepperberg, co-CEO of Tao Group Hospitality. Tao Group Hospitality, in partnership with restaurant group Lettuce Entertain You, plans to open a private His club in Chicago’s River His North neighborhood next year.
In the grand tradition of private clubs, from New York City’s Union Club to San Francisco’s Bohemian Club to the recently rebranded “Queen House” in Boston, these exclusive club restaurants demand status as well as cash. will do.
“restaurant Andrew Haley, associate professor of history at the University of Southern Mississippi, said: Generally, this was done in public, where discerning diners could be seen demonstrating their discernment.
Members-only Club Stauran, on the other hand, confers a different kind of status, suggests Megan Elias, director of the Gastronomy Program at Boston University.
Saed said he is not surprised that access is being monetized.
“Part of it is tracking the types of people renting in New York right now,” he said. “I think there is a higher proportion of people living here with disposable income because the rent has been pushed from $4,000 for him to $5,000 for him.”
and more restaurant — the public kind — leans toward sponsorship-style programs, aiming to offer premier access to certain customers while remaining open to the rest.
Under normal circumstances, it can take weeks or months to reach West Village fish and chip sensation Dame. However, there is a workaround. It grants owners special access on Front of House, a platform designed to help restaurants sell “digital collectibles” (also known as NFTs).
Devoted diners can pay $1,000 instead of standing in line at 4:30 p.m. on a Monday. This at least allows him to book a table with 24 hours notice. He once a week until the end of 2022.
Stephanie Dumanian, a cosmetic dentist in Manhattan, restaurant, when she tried unsuccessfully to make a reservation for her husband’s birthday, she found Front of House. She bought the token in her July and has visited 3 times since. “It was great,” she said. “I feel like I’m supporting a local business.”
Front of House co-founder Colin Camac says the platform simply promotes intimacy.
“I think one of the best things in the world is going to a place like Cheers. is where the sits,” Kamak said. He is also Resy’s Regional Director. “If you don’t have time to actually invest, it’s an easier way to become part of that community.”
Peter Adams, Founder of Table Concierge, said:
His startup is for people with money but no time, and those who want to be diners don’t actually have to be regulars. “You can do this yourself,” he said, but “it streamlines the process so you don’t have to wake up at 8 a.m. or make a midnight appointment,” he said. .
Usually $50 per person per booking, depending on the difficulty, Adams uses his connections to open doors that seem closed to us. (White glove service means going directly to the restaurant to negotiate on behalf of the client.)
With a week or so of warning, he gives a 90% success rate. do you want lilia? No matter what Recy says, he will take you to Lillia. “We can take you anywhere but Lao,” he told the exclusive Italian restaurant at East Harlem.
“But if you give me $10,000, I can find a way to get you to Rao’s.”
This article was originally published in The New York Times.
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