Restaurants Now Google Customers for All Kinds of Nefarious Purposes

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This dude has been keeping tabs on you. Photo: iStockphoto

Probably, you don't mind being Googled by a maître d' if that invasion of privacy turns into special recognition of your anniversary with a few off-menu desserts, a complimentary glass of your favorite Calvados, or the sort of hardcore coddling that goes on at Eleven Madison Park every day. Sadly, not all internet-search motives are so pure. Exhibit A is popular Australian online-reservations site Dimmi's ResDiary, which takes online recon to the dark side by allowing restaurants to code diners by every metric possible. The problematic labels allow diners to be forever flagged as bad-tippers, loud talkers, frequent no-shows — in short, PIAs, or "pain-in-the-ass" customers with "excessive demands," all at the whim of servers and others. More controversial, customers can also be scored by attractiveness, perhaps so everyone knows ahead of time where to seat you.

To CEO Stevan Premutico, what comes across here as a sort of supreme douchiness is actually just his company's proprietary rewards system: "A diner who appreciates the food concept, respects the staff, dines often, and leaves tips should be given the better tables and taken care of more," Premutico unhelpfully explains, not really addressing that whole "ugly-people-in-the-back" thing or how, exactly, "excessive demands" are qualified. Restaurants have been at the mercy of Yelpers and their ilk for years; this simply "passes some of the power back to restaurants." He says the takeaway should be how it will "help the diner get that all-important upgrade next time." Right — or if you're unfamous and have a double chin, a plum table near the bathrooms.

When Restaurants Google Customers [Good Food]
How Your Favourite Restaurant Is Using the Internet to Spy on You [Daily Mail UK]
Related: Hardcore Coddling: How Eleven Madison Park Modernized Elite, Old-School Service