A new website and phone app, called ReservationHop, was released last week, with a backlash so huge it has its own creator calling himself “the most hated person in San Francisco.”
The website books restaurant reservations under assumed names, lists them on ReservationHop and prices them according to the cost of the restaurant and how far in advance they need to be booked. The creator, Bryan Mayer, says he doesn’t use OpenTable, he contacts the restaurants directly. If someone doesn’t contact Mayer wanting that particular time, he releases them back to the restaurant.
The entrepreneur says, “I anticipated some mild interest when I launched this morning, emailing the 20 or so potential customers I had interviewed at Off the Grid and some friends. I expected maybe having to make somewhat of an effort in order to get people to discover what I’m doing. I never expected a maelstrom of internet hate.”
There are two complaints; one is making money off something that should be free and two, hurting restaurants by hoarding reservations. The going rate for a reservation is $12. After you pay, ReservationHop gives you the fake name to use.
With apps such as ReservationHop as well as parking apps among others being a new kind of business to start-ups, San Francisco’s city attorney has threatened to sue several of those start ups, saying they sell what should be a public commodity.
There has been concern that the rise of such apps and techie businesses could be a sign of a tech bubble that might be about to burst. If anything, investors will soon put their cash into such defined business models such as Twitter and Facebook rather than startups which some deem unscrupulous.