A New York restaurant that spies on its customers

A New York restaurant that spies on its customers
Big Brother may be watching you.

Imagine entering a restaurant, giving your name to the person at the reservations podium, and being asked, “So has your daughter heard back yet from any of the colleges she’s applied to?” How did they know you have a daughter, much less that she is applying to colleges? Before you can express your dismay, another member of the staff comes to escort you to your table, telling you as walk toward it, “You’ll enjoy talking with your waiter. Like you, he also played lacrosse in school.”

Your first impulse might be to look for Rod Serling’s ghost, who will confirm that you have entered the appetizer phase of your gastronomic journey to the Twilight Zone. In fact, you are in one of the Big Apple’s foremost restaurants, Eleven Madison Park. I dined there several years back, and the food is transporting, and the service is some of the most attentive you will experience anywhere on American soil.

But now, according to The Week, they’ve taken personalized attention to a new — and probably to some customers dismaying — level:

As New York‘s Alan Sytsma explains at Grub Street, mâitre d’ Justin Roller googles everyone who has a reservation at the restaurant on any given night. He searches for personal information — birth date, anniversary, profession — so he can give proper salutations when the party arrives. Once he discovers something concrete, he jumps on it. “If I find out a guest is from Montana, and I know we have a server from there, we’ll put them together,” Roller explains.

It’s possible that some people will feel pampered and special by this treatment. But if you happen to be among the group of cynics who would prefer not to dine in a “place where everyone knows your name,” consider this a warning.


Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.

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