Online reservation company Dimmi, has hit back at news.com.au for an article they wrote this week insinuating that their technology ResDiary was being used by restaurants to work out what level of customer service should be given to which customers.
News.com.au said in their article:
Traditionally, a tip is left to recognise staff that have gone beyond the standard motions of their job. But some people want that to change.
What if that model was flipped around so that you have to leave a tip not for the experience you just had, but to make sure you get a great one next time?
Well, that model exists in Australia right now and it’s called ResDiary.
It’s one of those things the restaurant industry doesn’t want you to know about — a database where your details and quirks are stored so that information can be used to tailor your next visit. Some of these details will be beneficial to your dining experience: like how spicy you like your food; what your favourite wines are; and whether you’re a loyal customer or not.
But other tidbits, like whether you’re a crappy tipper, might not be so conducive to pleasant customer service.
The tipping culture is indeed a hot topic in Australia, eating out is definitely much more expensive and restaurant staff are definitely paid much higher here than their counterparts in America. But to insinuate that the ResDiary technology provided to restaurants by Dimmi are being used to work out how certain customers should be treated throughout their dining experience is frankly, a little unfair.
In fact, the technology can be used to do the opposite and enhance the dining experience for all customers. Dimmi’s ResDiary technology allows users to manage reservations, table charts as well as share certain information about customers that staff may have previously just been aware of from a previous experience with that customer. Perhaps a fact such as they do not like seafood. In which case the staff would know that perhaps offering the seafood specials to them is not going to provide the best experience for that person.
In light of the commentary made by news.com.au, Dimmi Chief Executive, Steven Premutico had this to say:
At Dimmi, our goal is to help Australians enjoy memorable dining moments in great restaurants. To do this we provide a website that makes it easier than ever before to search, discover and book restaurants. For restaurants we provide a reservation system (ResDiary) that helps them better manage their restaurant and improve their customer service. Its that simple. We have been doing this for nearly 5 years and we love it.
Here’s three things we want to be clear on:
As a business, we believe that tipping as a reward for a positive experience is a good thing. It’s OK if you don’t agree. It’s just what we think. During our 5 year journey we have had the pleasure of getting to know the guys and girls behind the industry. They are some of the most talented, passionate and hard-working people around. We are not here to fight the battles for them (we have enough challenges of our own!), but these guys have a pretty tough gig and tips go a long way to make a little difference.
We are not trying to make Australia like America or like Europe. That’s bonkers. Each country has its own dynamics and you can’t possibly put them all on a level playing field. We love some of the hospitality trends that start in America, others we’ll happily leave alone. We just want the good stuff. We should always be open to learning and borrowing from other countries if we think it will help our own country. Occasionally we can teach them a thing or two as well.
#3 Helping restaurants WOW their customers
Customer information is key to delivering great dining experiences. We have all felt that special little buzz when we walked into a busy restaurant and they greeted us by our first name and took us to our fave table. The little stuff makes a big difference. Writing stuff down about your customers is nothing new. It has been happening for decades in hospitality and is common practice across most sectors – hotels, airlines etc. The ones that do it well are held up as customer service gurus. Running a business 24×7 is tough and restaurants could do with a better way to manage this – that’s where Dimmi comes in. We simply help them deliver more WOW moments with their customers. Fave table, fave wines, fave dishes, and allergy awareness are all things that would help make a difference. It’s not a bad thing. They only do it because they want to make things better for the customer. To be clear, private info stays private and there is no big brother in the restaurant game. We recently produced this video on this issue which we think you might enjoy.
Of course, when you really think about it, there is nothing really stopping restaurant owners and staff using the system in the way news.com.au described, but blaming the platform for actions a user takes doesn’t make much sense to me.