The Hamptons may be a summer hotspot for the rich and famous in the US, but it sounds like the exclusive New York City holiday spot is too popular for its own good.
Lifted coronavirus restrictions have seen holidaymakers and locals flocking to bars and restaurants in the area, completely overwhelming the staff.
With restaurants booked out for months at a time, patrons looking to secure a table for dinner and drinks are now going to extreme lengths; bribery.
Wealthy elites are passing out hefty tips to staff and offering to cover other diners’ bills just for the chance to nab a table when none are technically available.
Mitch Modell, former CEO of Modell’s Sporting Goods who lives in the area, told the New York Post that he handed out hundreds of dollars in tips at the booked out 75 Main Restaurant in Southampton to try to get in.
When that didn’t work, he approached some diners finishing their meal and offered to pay for it if he could take their two-person table for his party of six.
The diners agreed, but other patrons were furious.
“We all crowded in to their little table and one guy [who was waiting] started flipping out, yelling that it was supposed to be his,” Modell told the outlet.
“It was a little cramped and the tables around us were staring, but you have to do what you have to do and we were hungry.”
Modell isn’t the only wealthy Hamptonite thinking that way, with restaurant staff being offered everything from helicopter flights to NASCAR tickets to give diners a table.
Other have been offered tips of $3,000, boat trips, concert tickets, envelopes full of money, golf club visits and more.
Given how wealthy many of the locals and visitors to the Hamptons are, it shouldn’t be surprising that they’re so willing to flash their cash – and so unhappy when they’re told “no”.
With bloated waiting lists and reservations filling it months in advance, diners are frustrated by restaurants and their staff in the Hamptons are being flooded with offers.
“We have never seen this much interest in making reservations. Never!” restaurant owner Ian Duke told the outlet.
“Everyone is trying to call in favours. It comes down to how many calls you are willing to make and how much money you are willing to spend.”
With many restaurants limiting seating, it’s only becoming harder to get a table at the most prolific restaurants in the Hamptons.
And that’s only making the rich and famous more eager to get a spot.