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| 1 minute read

How much for a pint? That will be 5 categories of personal data, thank you.

The pandemic has forced the hospitality and entertainment industries to get creative with how customers and visitors are served, with many companies using apps to allow people to place orders from the safety of their table "bubble". But just how much data are these apps collecting, and is the data being used for more purposes than fulfilling drinks and snacks orders?

In the UK, all such apps should contain a UK GDPR-compliant privacy notice explaining why the data is collected and what it will be used for, but how many pub-goers will spend the first 15 minutes of their hard-earned time with friends reading the data sharing and direct marketing provisions before placing their order for a round of shots? I'd say other than self-professed privacy geeks (ahem), this is likely to be close to none, even where you have to tick to say you've read the Privacy Notice before gaining access to the menu. 

The ICO, perhaps concerned about a flood of complaints following individuals receiving unwanted targeted marketing emails from the venues they visit, has reminded people that use of the apps is no longer compulsory and even when used, nobody should feel the need to provide data that's not necessary for the purpose of ordering and paying for a drink/whatever particular use the app has been designed for. 

But are people increasingly prepared to accept that provision of data is just the new cost of interacting with many businesses? Tech companies cottoned on to the huge value of the data they hold a while ago, along with people's willingness to provide that data in exchange for a free service. Is hospitality set to follow? Prices next year: A pint of beer for your name, email address and mobile phone number, or a bottle of champagne for your health records and ethnicity...

For the bar or pub, that's incredibly valuable information, worth much more than the round you just bought. It tells them what you like drinking, what time you're likely to visit, who you were sitting with and how frequently you reorder.


data protection and privacy, technology