Restaurant Marketing Strategy with Million Dollar Fine!

At Gazella Wifi-Marketing we collect a lot...actually a ton of guest emails when they log into the wifi. Mostly from restaurants as their restaurant marketing strategy using wifi-marketing. Restaurant owners are using this data for their restaurant marketing strategies to send targeted advertisements, join mailing lists, rewards clubs, newsletters and more.

Restaurant Marketing Strategy With Million Dollar Fine!


A similar strategy that many of our customers are utilizing in tandem with Gazella Wifi Marketing is the strategy of collecting customer emails during the check out process. By collecting customer data at the point of check out as well as customers that log into the wifi. Collecting customer data and marketing lists can grow exponentially fast.

For the record we think that customers that are utilizing both strategies are brilliant, however we wanted to send a word of caution. Listen up, if not done properly $1000s of dollars of fines could be headed your way.

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Restaurant email marketing is hugely important in running a successful restaurant. But collecting too much data can throw some hefty fines your way. California specifically has laws that limit the data that can and cannot be collected – restaurants need to be aware or it can be very costly.

For example, California enacted the Song-Beverly Credit Card Act to promote consumer protection. The Act's goal is to protect personal privacy and personal identification information during credit card transactions. California courts have found the Act's purpose is to protect against the misuse of personal identification information for, among other things, "marketing purposes" – which is exactly why businesses want this data. They want to email you their weekly specials and happy hour deals!

The statute specifically prohibits merchants (primarily restaurants) from requesting or requiring personal identification information as a condition of using a credit card.

... [no] corporation that accepts credit cards for the transaction of business shall ... [r]equest, or require as a condition to accepting the credit card ... personal identification information....

Courts have found that "personal identification information" includes a customer's email addresses. In other words, if a restaurant or diner asks for a customer's email during the credit card payment process, it could open the restaurant to liability under the Act.

Now this doesn't mean you can't ask for an email, it essentially means you can't require an email. This means when it comes to training staff. Be sure there are asking "Would you like to provide an email?" rather than "What is your email?"


And liability is potentially huge – $250 for the first violation and $1,000 per each subsequent violation. If you were to have 100 customers come to your restaurant and provide theiremail addresses as a requirement, within a couple of weeks the business could be facing over a million dollars in potential liability – a very expensive way to generate a mailing list.

Again as a reminder, we are not saying do not collect emails via your POS system, we are simply reminding you to "be careful". Train staff accordingly and you should have no issues and when combining wifi marketing with your restaurant marketing strategies you will have no problem creating an amazing restaurant marketing list, and with some solid content you could have the best restaurant newsletter around. For ideas check out this article on how to create an email marketing for your small restaurant.

You can find more information on the Song-Beverly Act here. Those that are not residing in the California area and Song-Beverly Act is not applicable. We recommend following the golden rule. Do as you would want to be treated, and when it comes to restaurant email marketing you will have no issues.

Using wifi marketing for your restaurant marketing strategy for email data collection, and you can worry less. Click here for more info. For those digital marketers looking for an edge check out our white label wifi marketing software solution. 

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