When Restaurants Google You, Is It Creepy – or Cool?

Here’s something you may or may not know: Many of the best restaurants in the world research their guests online prior to a shift, with a view to learning something that will help them give those diners truly personalized, exceptional hospitality.

We were curious how people might feel about that, so we decided to ask U.S. OpenTable members, “When restaurants Google you, is it creepy or cool?” More than 6,000 chimed in with their responses, which led to the following interesting findings:

“Creepy” trumps “cool”

While many people aren’t bothered by the notion of being Googled by restaurant staff, the number of people who consider it “creepy or intrusive” outweighs the number of people who think it’s a good thing.

CreepyCool-BarGraph

Many of the 5 percent who answered “other” seemed baffled by the notion. “Not sure about that. What will they really get?” wondered one respondent. “Too much of a ‘Big Brother’ feeling,” commented another. “These must be expensive restaurants!” reasoned a third.

Diners in some cities are more creeped out than others

When we looked at the data by metro area, we saw a fair amount of variation. The most relaxed about this practice were our diners in Dallas, which was, in fact, the only city where those who think it’s a good thing (34 percent) outweighed those who consider it creepy (23 percent).

Meanwhile, respondents from cities farther north (think Boston, Chicago, and Minneapolis) were a lot more suspicious of being researched by a restaurant at which they were about to dine.Continue Reading

2015 James Beard Awards: Restaurant + Chef Winners #JBFA

michael anthonyThe 2015 James Beard Awards were held last night in Chicago. We’re pleased to highlight and congratulate this year’s winners. These chefs and restaurants represent the very best in dining across the nation. Make a reservation at a James Beard Award-winning restaurant today.

WINNING RESTAURANTS INCLUDE:

Best New Restaurant
Bâtard, New York, New York

Outstanding Restaurant
Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, New York

Outstanding Wine Program
A16, San Francisco, California

NOMINATED CHEFS INCLUDE:

Outstanding Chef
Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern, New York, New York

Rising Star Chef of the Year
Jessica Largey, Manresa, Los Gatos, California

Best Chef: Great Lakes
Jonathon Sawyer, The Greenhouse Tavern, Cleveland, Ohio

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
Spike Gjerde, Woodberry Kitchen, Baltimore, Maryland

Best Chef: Midwest
Gerard Craft, Niche, Clayton, MissouriContinue Reading

2015 James Beard Foundation Awards Restaurant + Chef Nominees

BatardToday, the James Beard Foundation released their list of nominations for the 2015 James Beard Foundation Awards. The winners of one of the world’s most prestigious culinary awards will be announced on May 4th at a ceremony in Chicago. Purchase tickets here to cheer on your favorites.

Congratulations — and good luck — to the year’s nominees on this prestigious acknowledgment.

NOMINATED RESTAURANTS INCLUDE:

Best New Restaurant
Bâtard, New York, New York
Cosme, New York, New York
Parachute, Chicago, Illinois
The Progress, San Francisco, California
Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Outstanding Restaurant
Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, New York
Highlands Bar & Grill, Birmingham, Alabama
Per Se, New York, New York
The Spotted Pig, New York, New York

Outstanding Service
Marea, New York, New York
Quince, San Francisco, California
Restaurant August, New Orleans
Topolobampo, Chicago, Illinois

Outstanding Wine Program
A16, San Francisco, California
FIG, Charleston, South Carolina
McCrady’s, Charleston, South Carolina
Spago, Beverly Hills, California

NOMINATED CHEFS INCLUDE:

Outstanding Chef
Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern, New York, New York
Sean Brock, McCrady’s, Charleston, South Carolina
Suzanne Goin, Lucques, West Hollywood, California
Claude Le Tohic, Joël Robuchon, Las Vegas, Nevada
Donald Link, Herbsaint, New Orleans, Louisiana
Marc Vetri, Vetri, Philadelphia

Rising Star of the Year
Tanya Baker, The Boarding House, Chicago, Illinois
Alex Bois, High Street on Market, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Jessica Largey, Manresa, Los Gatos, California
Ari Taymore, Alma, Los Angeles, California

Outstanding Pastry Chef
Dana Cree, Blackbird, Chicago, Illinois
Maura Kilpatrick, Oleana, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Dahlia Narvarez, Osteria Mozza, Los Angeles, California
Ghaya Oliveira, Daniel, New York, New York

Best Chef: Great Lakes
Curtis Duffy, Grace, Chicago, Illinois
Jonathon Sawyer, The Greenhouse Tavern, Cleveland, Ohio
Paul Virant, Vie, Western Springs, Illinois
Erling Wu-Bower, Nico Osteria, Chicago, Illinois
Andrew Zimmerman, Sepia, Chicago, Illinois

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
Continue Reading

2015 James Beard Foundation Awards Restaurant + Chef Semifinalists

JBF Awards LogoOscars, schmoscars! Here at OpenTable, we’re all about the 2015 James Beard Foundation Awards. This week, the James Beard Foundation released their list of semifinalists for nominations. Click here for a full list of nominated chefs, restaurants, and restaurateurs, including the extensive regional nominations. The final nominees will be revealed on March 24th. Winners will be announced on May 4th at the awards ceremony, which is being held in Chicago for the first time ever. Congratulations to the semi-finalists (and to you, too, Windy City denizens) — and best of luck to all those who have made it this far.

Nominated restaurants include:

Best New Restaurant
Abe Fisher, Philadelphia
Alden & Harlow, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Bâtard, New York, New York
Bazaar Meat by José Andrés, Las Vegas
Cosme, New York, New York
Edmund’s Oast, Charleston, South Carolina
Fiola Mare, Washington, D.C.
The Grey, Savannah, Georgia
Lusca, Atlanta, Georgia
Maude, Beverly Hills, California
Parachute, Chicago, Illinois
The Progress, San Francisco, California
San Salvaje, Dallas, Texas
Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Townsend, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Outstanding Restaurant
Acquerello, San Francisco, California
Bacchanalia, Atlanta. Georgia
La Belle Vie, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, New York
Bluestem, Kansas City, Missouir
Canlis, Seattle, Washington
Fore Street, Portland, Maine
Fork, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder, Colorado
Greens Restaurant, San Francisco, California
Highlands Bar & Grill, Birmingham, Alabama
Jaleo, Washington, D.C.
Per Se, New York, New York
Spiaggia, Chicago, Illinois
The Spotted Pig, New York, New York
Vidalia, Washington, D.C.

Outstanding Service
Continue Reading