Restaurants Getting Personal With Mobile Payments & More Connections

January 10, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

There’s a trend in the market today known as “analytics.” For those not familiar, it basically means “businesses examine all the customer data they have to better determine what it is customers want, and give it to them.” That sounds great and all, but it means that businesses have to have that data in the first place. For restaurants, mobile payments and other systems are calling on analytics to help improve the dining experience, and that’s leaving some restaurant-goers cold.

One new release is Taste, a “dining recommendation platform” that helps people determine where a “good” place to eat actually is based on a user’s own history. The app is working right now to build a presence in Albany, New York, but plans to go much wider in the next three to six months. Essentially, customers tell Taste where they’ve eaten already, and where they’ve enjoyed eating, and the Taste platform works some of that analytics magic to tell people where else they might like a table.

The app comes with two different versions: a free and paid premium version. The biggest difference between the two is that the premium version will automatically update by examining users’ credit card statements and similar matter to spot dining-related transactions and file same accordingly.

It’s also set to help bring together dining platforms; not everyone has their reservations systems available on every platform, so someone may be, for example, trying to set up a reservation on OpenTable when the restaurant only accepts Wisely reservations.

Some here are likely freaked out at the notion that an app is searching credit card data looking for any reference to a restaurant—how long before it threatens to email your wife with all those “lunch dates” you made?—but that’s the nature of analytics. Analytics requires data to work, and it needs to get that data from somewhere. Sure, we understand, on a visceral level—the app needs to know where you’ve eaten already to make suggestions about future places to eat—yet we’re all likely still concerned.

Any kind of app like Taste needs to make it clear how it’s protecting all the data it’s collecting, even as it collects said data. Doing anything less will run off more potential users than it could have picked up.