Restaurants know the importance of securing the privacy of their customers, because they have a history of safeguarding personal information. Now, a new law aims to protect consumers even further by protecting the personal information that companies, including restaurants, collect and disseminate. Although the California Consumer Privacy Act doesn’t take effect until January 1, 2020, now is the perfect time for restaurants to reevaluate their data protection policies to ready themselves and customers for these important changes.
What is the New Law? – The CCPA was adopted into law last year and applies to any company doing business in California. This law was created to give customers greater visibility and control over their personal data. If asked, restaurants would have to let customers know what kind of personal information they are collecting and who they share it with. However, restaurants are not required to have customers’ permission to collect it. If this sounds like customers don’t have control of their data, that’s hardly the case. A customer can ask that a company delete the information being sold to third parties and that company would have to comply.
Who is Affected? –This law has widespread impact as the nearly 40 million residents in California who will be affected as owners of personal data. As for the businesses at stake, the CCPA targets companies with a revenue of more than $25 million that gather information from at least 50,000 customers. In addition, a company must derive at least 50% of its revenue from selling personal information. This law also affects restaurants with franchised units located in California but that operate outside the state.
CCPA Violators Can Face Hefty Fines
This law is created to give visibility and control to consumers with hefty fines for violators. If a consumer asks for their personal information from a company, the business will have 45 days (unless granted an extension) to comply with the request. Restaurants who do not follow the law could face a costly penalty of up to $7,500 per violation.
What Steps Can Restaurants Take to Prepare For the CCPA?
Update Data Disclosures and Data Use Agreements— These disclosures and agreements communicate the intention of the business regarding data collection. They may already be in effect in most establishments, but restaurant owners shouldn’t hesitate to add more particulars to these documents. The CCPA requires that companies include details about how they collect and use personal information. Restaurants should update these disclosures at least once a year.
Examine Security Protocols— It’s critical to review the security of online systems. Data breaches open restaurants up to legal action by customers, especially if the restaurant lacks effective security protocols. California says businesses should maintain “reasonable” security, although that is not clearly defined by the state. Either way, restaurants can protect their operations by having cyber security insurance that covers the nitty-gritty of the CCPA.
Allow Consumers to Opt Out—Update websites and other online properties with disclosures that allow customers to opt out of the data collection. Accomplish this by creating a pop-up button on any online device that customers can click on stating “Do Not Sell My Personal Information.” Also, the consumer has the right to have their personal information deleted.
It’s no surprise that restaurants have gathered personal information to improve their products and services and more accurately target consumers. This information represents a growing trend in business and technology toward big data collection and analytics. Fortunately for consumers, legislation is catching up. The CCPA represents an opportunity to improve the customer experience by providing more insight and control regarding their personal data. Customers are more likely to feel comfortable sharing their data if they know how it will be handled. Complying with the CCPA isn’t just about the law. Ultimately, it’s about thoughtful customer service.
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