Taylor Swift seats aren’t the only tickets sold for exorbitant prices by unscrupulous scammers.
Reservations at Yoshino, a 10-seat Michelin-starred sushi bar on the Bowery, are being scalped for nearly $700 apiece, by a restaurant representative.
To enjoy sushi master Tadashi Yoshida’s famous omakase, diners must book on the Tock platform and pay a deposit of $500 per person.
The actual meal, including tax and service but not drinks, costs $646 per person.
According to correspondence seen by The Post between Yoshino general manager Mayumi Kobayashi and representatives of Tock, the restaurant was tipped off by a regular customer.
The reservations – which are currently booked a month later – were reportedly being sold in a closed group called Little Red Book on a Chinese version of Twitter, by someone using the name Winters Wang, among other aliases.
“It adds an additional $180 per seat,” Kobayashi wrote to Tock, alerting the company to the issue. “Looks like he’s doing quite a few hawker bookings.”
With the help of the whistleblower, Kobayashi was able to obtain screenshots of the closed group, which revealed Wang’s methods – not to mention the fact that he allegedly scalped seats in other large New York restaurants like Le Bernardin, Nakaji and Kappo Sono.
The scalper appears to be using a chain of names, logins, and email addresses – but in enough cases the exact same credit card, which made it easier to detect rule-breaking acts.
The depth of the problem became apparent last month, when Kobayashi emailed Wang letting him know it was against restaurant policy to transfer a reservation, after it was revealed that a other party dined under his name.
A lengthy email from Wang, written in broken English, blamed the confusion that “occurred personally between me and my friend”, but then rebuked the restaurant, offering “a little advice” to allow diners to pass reservations on to others.
(Wang did not respond to The Post for comment.)
Because Kobayashi was able to gain access to the private group where the resales were taking place, she was able to get to Tock with the evidence she needed to have dozens of bookings made by Wang canceled. Reselling reservations is a violation of the site’s terms of service.
In response to the frustrating storyline, Tock’s chief marketing officer, Marisa Mulh, told the Post “although this is not specifically related to Yoshino, we are aware of this happening and strongly advise against it.”
“The resale of reservations hinders [a restaurant’s] ability to leverage customer preferences, which is at the heart of the experiences they deliver,” she said.
Beyond that, it also does a huge disservice to customers, according to Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance.
“If you have resellers who are fighting for reservations, [that] makes it harder for the ordinary person to get [in]“Rigie told the Post. “It makes restaurants, especially hot restaurants, even less accessible.”
Kobayashi and the Yoshino team, who declined to comment for this article, are considering legal action.