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Summer Travel

Snagging a Table at a Hot Restaurant Will Be Even Tougher This Summer

Eateries are cutting hours because of staffing shortages—making coveted reservations harder to come by.
Zazzy’s Pizza on the Lower East Side in New York.

Zazzy’s Pizza on the Lower East Side in New York.

Photographer: Richard B. Levine/Alamy

Count restaurant reservations among the shortages Americans will undoubtedly experience this travel season. The American Express-owned booking platform Resy reported that April was the busiest month in its eight-year history. It’s not just a bump since the hardest days of the pandemic—there’s been a huge increase in 2022 alone that’s ticking higher. According to Resy’s latest data, national bookings for May are trending 5% to 10% higher than April. Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, which includes Ci Siamo and Union Square Café, reports a similar increase. The group saw a more than 30% jump in calls to its reservation lines from January to April.

For the first time, Jeffrey Thoennes, the longtime concierge at the Carlyle Hotel in New York, says he’s having difficulty getting tables for guests at the hotel’s swanky restaurant Dowling’s, because it’s packed. “I’ve worked here 24 years. There’s never been a time where I couldn’t get someone into our own restaurant,” he says. “Now it is impossible.”