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Ko reservation system - rigged?

  • c

This is so bizarre - three of us logged in at exactly 10am for a table of 4 for next Saturday. All we got was a page with red "X"s for unavailability. This was returned literally 2 seconds after 10am. WTF?!

Is this reservation system rigged?

Even getting into Per Se on opening night was a pinch compared to this. If we had a fair shot at this, I would be okay. But I really feel like the system was rigged.

I'm kind of disgusted actually.

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  1. It's not rigged, just only 14 seats that a lot of others besides you and your 3 friends are competing for them. Btw, they don't have tables, just seats at the bar.


    1. not rigged at all. Just 14 seats and the hottest restaurant in town. I'd read all the posts and reviews and then you'll understand.

      1. There are only two four-tops a night at Ko because the only place they can put you is where the counter's corner is located. The online grid is built to work with the 1-tops, 2-tops, AND the 4-tops. Only two of those boxes a column ever turn into a green checkmark for 4-tops.

        The only way to get into Ko is to:
        1. try every day
        2. be patient
        3. be lucky
        4. not be tied to a particular date or time
        5. not forget that you are competing with every person who reads Chowhound, Eater, the NY Times Dining section, the New Yorker, New York Magazine, every foodie magazine...


        1. supposedly david chang is have doubts about the reservation system at ko


          1 Reply
          1. re: Lau

            Well, if he rethinks his position, kiss any chance for non industry folks of getting a reservation goodbye. Perhaps Chang needs to think about getting a larger space. But then maybe Ko won't have the same cache as it does right now.

          2. Thanks for all the insight. The article posted by Lau was interesting - especially the comments left by readers! For the time being, I'm crossing this one off my list because we don't live in NYC and I really don't like having to get up at 7am just to see more red Xs. Or at least, til they put in a phone reservation system where I can get our concierge to do the work. There *are* many great and perhaps, even better restaurants to eat in NYC.

            Many thanks! Esp Kathryn for the tips - will pass them on to my friends and family in NYC.

            1. Nopes, every millimillimillimillimilliseconds make a huge difference.

              1. If it is rigged, it's not perfect because I got in...
                What's it worth to you? They have a link on the reservation page to a charity auction-you can buy your way in and write it off...current bid is at $315.00.

                1. I havent gotten in yet and I check almost every morning when Im at work.

                  Also, I noticed today that they raised the price. When did that happen?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: ConOrama

                    A few weeks ago - right after the James Beard awards. It went from $85 to $100.

                    1. re: kathryn

                      Hmph. Interesting. I remember when he was first describing the idea behind Ko it was supposed to be something innovative, fresh and 'accessible'.
                      How much is the Gourmand at Eleven Madison Park? 11 courses for $145?

                  2. I try every day and am still not able to make a reservation. My first try it went to the Momofuku home page, some tries resulted in "sorry there was an error processing your request", and I also had the someone else got your seat message. I have a very quick network and I think some of the seats have been rigged. I asked a friend who does IT and he said it is possible at 10:00:00am, a generator can grab a number of spaces via codes and that may be why I have those error messages. Regardless, that is wrong, wrong, wrong. They should have a better system to work off of. Open Table does have similar programming limiting available dates, the issue is Open Table charges a fee they probably don't want to pay. Their site is not fit for the volume it gets every morning.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: mslex

                      There is no rigging and I can't think of a better system. Babbo has many more seats and it takes people up to 45 minutes to get thru on the phone, and more often than not, by that time you are eating at 5 or 11:30. They have way more seats and far less demand. Is that a better system?

                      There are 14 seats in a restaurant that has ridiculous demand. I'm not sure why some people cannot accept it. No less than 3 people on this thread alone have commented about logging on right at 10:00:00. And the tens of people on the other weekly "Why can't I get a Ko reservation" posts are doing the same thing. Not to mention the hundreds of other people doing the same thing but not posting about it. It doesn't take a mathematician to figure out that if hundreds of people attempt to get one of 14 seats at exactly 10:00:00, by 10:00:01 the seats are gone. It is a fair and equitable system. I've gotten a reservation by doing the exact same thing and enjoyed my meal there. Seems pretty fair to me. They definitely had bugs when they first went live but since that time, I haven't seen any other problems

                      1. re: ESNY

                        I disagree for several reasons, first- the reservation scalpers are doing well, second- the reservation scalpers have several email lists going because I have been contacted but refused their service since DC is against selling reservations, third- a friend at work has gone there bi-weekly for the past two months, he calls his "guy" and he gets a reservation within two days. I am not paying a scalper to get me there.

                        The system isn't fair, at all. I would rather deal with a phone system and for them to be willing to take a reservation one month ahead.

                        1. re: mslex

                          My internet slows down so much when trying to make the reservation. It's been two weeks now, and still no luck =( Really seems impossible.

                    2. I don't believe that the reservations system is rigged. I've seen green checkmarks at 10:00 and by the time I clicked on them, there was an error message because I just wasn't lucky/fast enough to be the first click received. TS for me. That being said, we made our reservations at 2:00 in the afternoon thanks to some cancellations.

                      Now, a separate issue: as we were waiting in the entryway for our table to open up (they said that they were running a little behind that night), a couple of people dropped in and started chatting with the staff. It seemed like they knew DC (or someone else important) and the hostess said that they could get seats that night if they wanted. They ultimately decided (apparently because of time/price constraints) not to dine there; but had they, they likely would have gotten OUR seats. There were only two open seats in the place and the next two to leave were 45 minutes later. I don't know what to make of that, or what I would/could have done had things gone differently.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: jakew8

                        Technically, 'that night' could have been the 45 minutes later table unless they said immediate seating.

                        1. re: DarthEater

                          I think that they were poised to give them the next available seats (i.e., ours).

                      2. seriously, people can get reservations (I tried a few times but finally succeeded). If you click once and then refresh the all x-ed out screen a few times sometimes a green check reappears because people don't want the reservation time they have click on and stupidly decline the reservation to try to get a new one. Of course after the james beard awards it will be super hard, but I got one the 3rd week it was open, so reservations will not be impossible. Sure some people scalp reservations etc, but honestly if you just keep trying you'll get them.

                        And as for late seating etc, we had reservations at 10pm on sunday night and because they were running late they gave us several free glasses of rose champagne while we waited. Honestly, they're just trying their best, not rigging anything.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: progressivenewamerican

                          Sometimes the system hiccups and a reservation that you have in your "cart" gets released. That's why the green checkmark reappears.