I know that companies pride themselves on the service they provide, but the length to which some of them go is unbelievable. Listen to Michael Muser , general manager at Chicago’s Grace restaurant (as quoted in Bon Apetit) :” Before you arrive we start a dossier on you.. The second we take your reservation, we note your area code on caller ID, then google your name and city. We open the diner notes section on Open Table and jot down everything we find: your job, your likes and dislikes.”
The information is used to cater to the proclivities of guests. For instance,knowing that a group of diners were all huge U2 fans, the restaurant assigned them a server who was herself a U2 nut. Sure enough, the topic came up during the meal. When another guest tweeted that he was excited to be dining at Grace even though he was sick with a fever, the chef packed him a container of chicken noodle soup to take home. Yet another guest, a food blogger, was sent an extra amuse-bouche and a dessert.
Nor is this all. Servers are expected to take notes of each diner’s experience so that they can be used to enhance the dining experience on return visits.
As Muser himself admits ” I’m well aware this must seem a little creepy. Stalkerish. But if I can enhance your dining experience I’m going to do it. It’s my job.”
You got that right, buddy. It does seem creepy to me. When I go to a restaurant, I want my server to be attentive and friendly, to offer menu suggestions if asked, to get the food out on time, keep the water glasses filled and take the dirty dishes away promptly. Nothing more. I certainly don’t want him rooting around social media to know what I do or what my likes and dislikes are. That I think is intrusive.And not even an extra dessert is going to make me change my mind.