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Ask Eater: Why Do They Need My Phone Number to Check Availability?

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Have a restaurant or nightlife question that you'd like the Eater readership to tackle? Send it in to and it may just get the "Ask Eater" treatment.

2008_04_wilwood.jpgWe received an email that we think was meant to the Complaints Dept., but we're going to throw it over to Ask Eater. The reader in question calls up Wildwood to inquire about availabilities tomorrow and the reservationist asks for her phone number:

"Why does he need my telephone number? Does he want to see if I’m a return customer or a VIP? I should be treated like any other customer in terms of checking availability, no? I understand that once I decide I want to make the reservation that personal details will be asked of me. Upon which, he could certainly recognize my status as a return customer or friend of the owner, etc and treat me accordingly. Maybe there’s some secret database of phone numbers which leads to a blacklist of people who are chronic no-shows. This may exist in the elite tiers of opentable; I don’t know."
This policy is not unique to Wildwood. It's found throughout the BR Guest empire and we're pretty sure a number of places outside of their web. So, hosts, hostesses, reservationists, restaurant owners—what's the story?

Wildwood Barbeque

225 Park Ave South, New York, New York 10003

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