The Chicago hospitality scene has been thrown into chaos recently with one rogue employee of a restaurant booking service making fake reservations on a rival service. The employee from OpenTable made almost 300 reservations using Reserve, a competitor, resulting in almost 1,200 no-show guests affecting 45 restaurants.
"Clearly, the intent was to harm," said Reserve COO Michael Wesner. "What's really most frustrating and most disappointing is just the fact that you're hurting the restaurants.”
After Wesner approached OpenTable, the company launched its own internal inquiry and the employee was fired within two days. He was not in a managerial position.
OpenTable CEO Christa Quarles responded with an open letter.
"This action absolutely does not reflect our mission of helping restaurants grow and thrive," she said, "and we will continue to work hard to earn the trust and respect of the OpenTable community every day."
Several Chicago restaurateurs have criticised OpenTable.
"If you're the biggest guy on the block, you're supposed to lead by example," Tavern on the Park co-owner Peter de Castro said. "Why would they stoop to the level of undermining the competition and hurting the restaurants that went to that competition?"