Even a single visit can prompt the creation of a computer file that includes diners’ allergies, favorite foods and whether they are “wine whales,” likely to spend hundreds of dollars on a bottle. That’s valuable information, considering that upward of 30 percent of a restaurant’s revenue comes from alcohol. Some places even log data on potential customers so that the restaurant is prepared if the newcomer shows up.
Is this an invasion of privacy or the way technology enables the free market best to satisfy customer desires?That a waiter you have never met knows your tendency to dawdle or your love of crushed ice may strike some diners as creepy or intrusive. But restaurant managers say their main goal is to pamper the customer, to recreate the comfort of a local corner spot where everybody knows your name.