Last week, news broke that Australian online reservation system Dimmi was "reviewing" customers with headlines like "The Reverse Yelp: Restaurants Can Now Review Customers, Too," "Soon Restaurants Will Be Able to Rate Diners Just Like Diners Rate Them, Only in Secret," and "Turning Tables: How Restaurants Reviewing Customers Takes Things Too Far." Eater spoke with Dimmi CEO Stevan Premutico, who says that the customer notes are not shared among restaurants as the articles above imply. The note-keeping functionality of Dimmi isn't so different from the one utilized by online reservation standard-bearer OpenTable.
Dimmi, like many other online reservation systems, provides maître d's and reservationists the chance to store potentially valuable information about individual customers. Says Premutico of those customer notes: "It's not actually publicly accessible between restaurants. It's a CRM [customer relationship management] system for restaurants to track their individual customers." Not so scary after all.
The goal of the system, says Premutico, is to allow restaurants to more easily and efficiently store the kind of details about their customers that leads to "better rapport and improved magic" in the dining experience. He adds that since tipping is not standard practice in Australia, the front of house staff there really needs to go the extra mile to get bonus money at the end of the meal. Dimmi is trying to help restaurants get there, especially as "restaurants have lost a lot of control being reviewed in social media channels."
So what kind of information are the restaurants tracking? Per the press release below, the most common pieces of data a restaurant will store on a given customer are "General preferences (fave foods & wines), Notable habits (ie. always likes a drink at the bar before beating seated), Preferred seats (loves the corner booth), Allergies, and If someone is a good or bad tipper." Reservation giant OpenTable does this too, "collecting useful information on each guest: a favorite wine, a food allergy, a special table or occasion."
There are plenty of major changes happening in the already crowded online reservations landscape. But a "Reverse Yelp" isn't one of them yet.
· Dimmi [Official Site]
· The Reverse Yelp: Restaurants Can Now Review Customers, Too [Bloomberg]
· All Reservations Coverage on Eater [-E-]