Restaurants may soon have a chance to ask their customers: how does the shoe feel on the other foot?!
The founder of Dimmi, which is basically the Australian equivalent of OpenTable, told the Good Food blog this week that his service will allow member restaurateurs to share information about specific patrons: how much they order, which dishes and wines they prefer, whether they leave generous tips and even “whether [they] continued to camp out at the table long after [they'd] finished dessert.”
With whom would they share this information? Other restaurants, of course.
The idea is that this feature would allow individual eateries to offer better customer service by distributing these “secrets” via social network:
“[They could] codify diners with attributes such as wine connoisseur, adventure eaters, quick eaters (good for table turnover)…loud talkers, frequent no-shows or PIAs – pain-in-the-ass customers with excessive demands.”
This isn’t a new thing, per se (see what we did there?): Grub Street recently noted (h/t Bloomberg BusinessWeek) that particularly frou frou restaurants Google the names of every single guest who makes a reservation. How else would they know whether a certain media personality will attend–or whether a special someone has a birthday dinner coming up?
We get it. Many chefs and maître d’s would love a chance to bite back at those diners who leave crappy, poorly-written reviews on Yelp for arbitrary there-was-a-hair-in-my-soup reasons. And, on the polite side of things, they’d like easier access to key information about certain patrons.
Now here’s why this is probably a terrible idea: even if these restaurant owners are the only ones who can see the customer profiles, the very knowledge that this is a thing will change the way people relate to their favorite food places. And not in a good way.
If fans of a popular restaurant discover that their spot is offering reservations through the network, then they could quickly leap to the conclusion that no, you’re not just paranoid. They really are watching you.
That sort of service is a bit too attentive for us, thanks.