OpenTable Tightens Control Over Diners’ Data

In a move that strengthens the battle for control of information that diners provide online, OpenTable is preventing restaurants from providing competitors with access to data from its platform. With the updated agreement, restaurant operators cannot access and copy data without the consent of the platform, The Wall Street Journal reported.

While some restauranteurs believe OpenTable “is trying to freeze out SevenRooms,” according to the paper, OpenTable’s Steve Hafner claims the move is an effort to protect the privacy of diners as well as the platform’s control of the information. “That information is absolutely not the restaurants’,” Hafner said, according to WSJ.

OpenTable is currently the largest platform for booking tables at restaurants in the U.S.

Diner information has taken on more value, as restaurant groups look to serve customers with personalized products and services. Chains, for instance, are tapping into data to take note of allergies, monitor spending patterns and adjust menus. Scott Langdoc, who heads up BRP Consulting’s hospitality practice, told the paper, “To do that level of personalization, that level of engagement, you need to know more.”

The news comes as all-in-one reservation, seating and guest management platform SevenRooms  announced an investment from Amazon’s Alexa Fund in October. In a press release at the time, the company said the funding marked the first time the Alexa Fund has invested in a restaurant technology company. SevenRooms also noted the backing would pave the way for the company to integrate Amazon Alexa into guest relationship management and restaurant operations.

SevenRooms Founder and CEO Joel Montaniel said in the press release, “Hospitality operators have long relied on an interface or screen to access information, taking attention away from their guests and operations. Voice eliminates this need, enabling them to shift their attention back to what matters most: the guest.”