You’ve visited restaurants with open kitchens, where you get to watch the chef. What about a restaurant that watches you? Some Dutch researchers have opened an eatery peppered with surveillance cameras in an effort to analyze dining behavior. As one of the researchers told Reuters:
We want to find out what influences people: colors, taste, personnel. … This restaurant is a playground of possibilities. We can ask the staff to be less friendly and visible or the reverse. The changes must be small. If you were making changes every day it would be too disruptive. People wouldn’t like it.
Yes, disruptive; mustn’t be that. Surely the valuable data collected at this $4.26 million “restaurant of the future” will only be used to enhance our dining experience. Much like research has enhanced our grocery shopping experience, allowing us to easily find which aisle houses the salsa (no, dear, not in the Mexican food section; it’s in aisle 6—condiments. Use your head!) and placing the milk conveniently at the back of the store. Reuters elaborates:
From a control room, researchers can direct cameras built into the ceiling of the restaurant to zoom in on individual diners and their plates. They watch how people walk through the restaurant, what food catches their eye, whether they always sit at the same table and how much food they throw away.
What’s the big deal? asks diner Bert Visser. “You’re already watched by cameras everywhere like ‘Big Brother’ so what difference does it make here?”