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Black market restaurant reservations may soon be illegal in NYC

Will it be easier to get into Carbone now?

Anna Rahmanan
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Anna Rahmanan
Carbone in NYC
Photograph: Courtesy of WikiMedia
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The hardships involved in securing a table at some of the most popular restaurants in NYC—from Carbone to Polo Bar, Theodora, Torrisi, Bangkok Supper Club and more—have become almost comical. It's now nearly impossible to snag a reservation any day between 6pm and 9pm.

The well-earned reputation of the various restaurants and New Yorkers' propensity for dining out, however, are not the only reasons why being able to actually eat at the destinations has become so hard: new software has also flooded the Internet, taking over available tables as soon as they are released and then selling them on a black market of sorts at exorbitant prices. 

Officials have (finally!) come around to doing something about the problem. New York’s state legislature just passed a new bill called the Restaurant Reservation Anti-Piracy Act that, if signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul, would require "third-party online reservation platforms to enter into a written agreement with restaurants before being able to list reservations on their website, mobile application or other platform." Basically, the new guidelines would force all to act as OpenTable and Resy already do: work with the restaurant to offer whatever reservations are actually available. Only reputable apps allowed, table seekers!

"Now, when diners do have the ability to dine out, they will no longer have to compete with predatory bots capturing reservations and reselling them at exorbitant prices," said Melissa Fleischut, President & CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association, in an official statement. "And restaurants will no longer be left with empty seats from unauthorized third-party reserved tables. This legislation supports restaurants, diners and the legitimate apps uplifting the hospitality industry."

Needless to say, Resy, OpenTable and the like have joined the Restaurant Association in praising the latest legislative action. The law would greatly benefit the platforms, in fact, and no longer have them compete with illegitimate apps when servicing the dining-out public.

Whether this means that you'll actually be able to snag a table at Carbone at 7pm on a Thursday is yet to be seen, but we're at least getting somewhere.

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