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Eleven Madison Park

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But to be clear, I'm not talking about your speculation as to their real practice, but rather about what they claim for themselves.



Okay, let's look at that.


In a 1400 word article covering many aspects of the service at EMP, just over 200 words are devoted to this practice. The Grub Street jounalist decided to highlight it by dropping it into the first paragraph, but it's not the topic of the article.

What do they "claim"?


"I'm looking for chef's whites and wine glasses," he says. A shot of a guest wearing whites means a chef is probably coming to dinner. Wine glasses signify a potential sommelier (or at least a wine geek). This is just the beginning. If, for example, Roller discovers it's a couple's anniversary, he'll then try to figure out which anniversary. If it's a birthday, he'll welcome a guest, as they walk in the door, with a "Happy Birthday." (Or, if it seems to Roller that a guest prefers to keep a low profile, "I'll let them introduce themselves to me," he says.) Even small details are useful: "If I find out a guest is from Montana, and I know we have a server from there, we'll put them together." Same goes for guests who own jazz clubs, who can be paired with a sommelier that happens to be into jazz.



That's it. The whole thing. Not a mention of LinkedIn, for example. (The bit about blowing minds is Grub Street's gloss).


Now consider your concerns:


whatever there is about me on the internet isn't stuff I've put there, but stuff other people are reporting about me. And I think it's creepy for a restaurant to look for it.



I don't want to walk into a restaurant and have someone go, "Too bad about the JPMorgan decision. I'm sure you'll get your notice of appeal filed on time by April 30, though."


I don't want to walk into a restaurant and have someone say, "What's it like to work for XXXXXXX? I hear he's a real bear.


I don't want to walk into a restaurant and have someone say, "Hey, I contribute to the same Brooklyn politicians as you do!"


They do internet research to see if I'm the kind of person who cares about maintaining my privacy, so they can then know to pretend they didn't research me.


EMP is going the extra step of looking at everything that's reported about me to see what they can learn.



(Emphasis added. Etc., I gave up looking...)


I'm quite comfortable that my gloss is the more reality-based.

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I'm in sneak's camp here, but I totally get why some people don't think its weird. I don't know there is just something hollow about learning something about me on google and then using that to improve my experience.


Let me ask you guys this. You have a business lead. You google said lead. You find a google image of him bonefishing. You too like to fly fish. Would you ever bring that up? Now if the guy started talking about his trip to the bahamas you might say "Oh love the Bahamas, you fish at all?" - but that's different then over your first lunch saying "oh by chance do you like to fly fish"


But they could do the "your waiter is from the same state where you are from" trick very subtly as well. I don't think the waiter has to start out by saying "I'm Jeff and I'm from your home state." Waiters who are fed good information could be as adept at this stuff as someone in sales.

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Maybe I'm misreading, but what Roller says seems to me to be a lot closer to what I'm saying than what you're saying.


But I quoted the entire passage. Chefs and sommeliers. Surprise? Birthdays and anniversaries. Surprise?


All you're left with is something about Montana and jazz, which the journalist chose to highlight. Feel free to elaborate this into a comprehensive Google searches for career highlights, political donations, whether you are a private person, and everything reported about you, but then you give me a hard time about speculating beyond the four corners of the article.

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You see, I get from the paragraph in question that Roller was asked for a few examples about what they do, and he happened to say something like, "Oh there was this guy once who is all over the Internet as a jazz buff, and Pedro the busboy likes jazz..."


And you're hearing, "We systematically search for each guests' music preferences as expressed over social media platforms, and using an Excel spreadsheet get the closest matches we can with staff music preferences."


You can't tell from those 200 words which happened, but I know which I believe (and which I think is saner).

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