Reservation Scalping at High-End Restaurants Plagues Chefs

Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck is the latest victim of restaurant scalpers that snatch prime reservation spots

Restaurant scalpers make a hefty chunk of change from charging money for prime dinner reservations, and Heston Blumenthal is just the latest victim.

How do you make the hottest restaurants in town — restaurants like Carbone and Per Se — even tougher to score a reservation at? Bring in the ticket scalpers: Table 8, Zurvu, and Resy are just a few of the reservation scalping websites that make and sell reservations for  thousands of tables at the hottest restaurants in town, often charging up to $1,000 in annual fees for the privilege of being able to pick a restaurant table anytime you want.

The newest victim is Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck: his infamous restaurants that is temporarily moving to Melbourne for six months in 2015. Only 14,000 people will be able to experience this exclusive pop-up, but as it turns out, when tickets were released last month, at least 100 seats had been grabbed by online scalpers, who entered the ticket lottery hundreds of times using false email addresses and IT wherewithal. Gordon Ramsay has also been the victim of a scam in which false reservations were made for the opening night of his newest London restaurant. claims that ads for Fat Duck seats have been popping up online, selling tickets to the much-coveted restaurant for $1,000 a pop in addition to the $525 per head charge for a table. In fact, Blumenthal’s representatives have hinted that they could cancel certain reservations if they aren’t attached to real credit card and identity information.

"Crown Melbourne is committed to upholding the integrity of the ballot process and has flagged a small number of reservations for further investigation," said Peter Crinis, executive general manager of hotels, food, and beverage at Crown Resorts, where the pop-up will be located told Good Food. "The on-selling of reservations is prohibited by the ballot terms and conditions and internal measures have been put in place to ensure this process remains fair and equitable for all Fat Duck diners."

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Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi