Every year in the run-up to Mother’s Day, I usually remember – often too late – to make a reservation at a nice restaurant to take my children’s mom (who is also, not so coincidentally, my wife) out to brunch.

Now I know what you’re thinking: I should probably offload this activity to my kids (she is their mother, after all, not mine). But the reality is figuring out a good restaurant to make reservations at is a challenge that pops up for me throughout the year, which is why I was intrigued to stumble upon this patent issued today to Amazon for personalized restaurant suggestions.

The patent, entitled “Implicit occasion personalization for restaurants,” describes a system that makes highly-customized suggestions based on a contextual understanding of a person’s past behavior, friend and family network, and specific time-based events such as birthdays, anniversaries and, yes, spouse-specific holidays that demand attention as to avoid marital doghouses.

In one example described in the patent, the system would recognize that a person has an important event coming up in their life, either based on their own calendar or that of their family or friends, and suggest a reservation at a high-end restaurant:

“Perhaps the date (e.g., March 5th) is the birthday, anniversary, or other occasion that is personal to the user, the user’s family and/or the user’s friends. The service provider may leverage the user pattern to make recommendations to the user. In at least one example, the service provider may recommend a reservation at the high-end restaurant to the user on or before the date.”

And while the system described in the patent can certainly help suggest restaurants for important dining occasions, it also describes helping with the more mundane ones. One proposed example has the system recommending new pho restaurants based on similarities to other restaurants the user patronizes.

This isn’t the first time Amazon’s dabbled in preemptive restaurants suggestions. Earlier this year, The Spoon uncovered a patent from Amazon that described a system that would use contextual information to trigger a preemptive restaurant delivery order. With this new patent, it looks like Amazon is trying to corner the market on predictive recommendations around a person’s entire restaurant purchasing behavior, whether that be for dine-out or delivery.

Not only would it make sense to integrate these services with the online giant’s food delivery marketplace as well as with Alexa (“Alexa, can you tell me what I should do for dinner tonight?”), but I can also envision Amazon building out their own reservation platform and marketplace to take on fast-growing startups like Tock and Resy and well as industry goliath OpenTable.

Leave a Reply