Seattle restaurant owner Dave Meinert made headlines and sparked a heated debate earlier this year when he banned Google Glass from his 5 Point Cafe restaurant.
Now Meinert is back in the news with another Google Glass controversy, but this time it’s a little different.
Here’s the lowdown: This past Thursday, Seattle early adopter and Google Glass owner Nick Starr was eating inside Capitol Hill’s Lost Lake Cafe & Lounge, another Meinhart-owned eatery.
He had already been to Lost Lake while wearing his Glass seven times prior, with one staff member even asking to try the wearable spectacles on.
But on Thursday, his waitress asked him to put away the Glass or leave, telling Starr that “owner’s other restaurant doesn’t allow Google Glass.”
Starr, aware of 5 Point’s rules, asked to see a similar policy for Lost Lake, but the waitress didn’t have one. He left, headed home and wrote about his experience in this Facebook post.
“I would love an explanation, apology, clarification, and if the staff member was in the wrong and lost the owner money last night and also future income as well, that this income be deducted from her pay or her termination,” Starr wrote.
“Nick — we like you, just thought it was understood that wearing Glass inside makes others uncomfortable,” Meinert wrote. “We’re not anti-Glass, they are useful in all sorts of ways. We just think there should be some rules around them. Sorry for the hassle. Please respect others.”
At about the same time Meinert posted that, Lost Lake then issued out an official Google Glass policy on its Facebook page attached with the photo above:
We recently had to ask a rude customer to leave because of their insistence on wearing and operating Google Glasses inside the restaurant. So for the record, here’s Our Official Policy on Google Glass:
We kindly ask our customers to refrain from wearing and operating Google Glasses inside Lost Lake. We also ask that you not videotape anyone using any other sort of technology. If you do wear your Google Glasses inside, or film or photograph people without their permission, you will be asked to stop, or leave. And if we ask you to leave, for God’s sake, don’t start yelling about your “rights”. Just shut up and get out before you make things worse.
That post has more than 700 “likes,” and more than 100 comments from people on both sides of the fence, arguing over the same privacy debate that fueled intense discussions on our initial post about 5 Point Cafe’s policies.
Back in March, we noted how the 5 Point actually has its own surveillance cameras recording their patrons. We also asked people eating at the 5 Points what they thought of the restaurant’s rules. Some liked how 5 Point was protecting privacy, while others thought the ban was lame:
You might wonder why Meinert is banning Google Glass in the first place. Speaking on the Luke Burbank Show at our news partner KIRO-FM in March, Meinert admitted that part of the policy was a “joke, to be funny on Facebook, and get reaction.”
“But part of it’s serious,” he added, “because we don’t let people film other people or take photos unwanted of people in the bar, because it is kind of a private place that people go.”
On Twitter, Meinert thanked Starr for the publicity and offered to buy him a beer.
This is certainly an interesting debate that’s sure to heat up as Google Glass becomes available to the public.
Here’s Starr’s Facebook post in full:
Last night I went for dinner with my partner Brian Street after #Hashtag with Lily Armani. The nearest place was Lost Lake Cafe & Lounge. We have been there a number of times and have had breakfast, lunch, happy hour, and dinner there. Every time I’ve worn Google Glass. I even had staff ask me about it and to check it out.
Last night when we arrived we were sat at a table in the middle of the restaurant after our IDs were checked. We begin looking at the menu and a woman who works there comes up to us and tells me that the owner’s other restaurant doesn’t allow Google Glass and that I would have to either put it away (it doesn’t fold up btw) or leave.
I inform her that I am well aware of the policy at The 5 Point Cafe but asked to see where it was policy for Glass to be disallowed at Lost Lake. She said she couldn’t provide any and when asked to speak with management she stated she was the night manager. I again inform her that the two venues are different and have different policies. She refuses and I leave.
As we are leaving Brian points out that on the menu (http://lostlakecafe.com/menu/) they state “Post photos on our website via Instagram by using #LostLake.” So how is an establishment which is REQUESTING photos be taken, not allow me to bring a device which takes photos and can post to Instagram?
I would love an explanation, apology, clarification, and if the staff member was in the wrong and lost the owner money last night and also future income as well, that this income be deducted from her pay or her termination.