Guest registration as a measure against corona is a sensitive issue for all parties involved. After all, it involves very personal data, which is requested where anonymity is usually preferred. While event organisers were already familiar with guest registration before Corona, this is uncharted territory for many restaurateurs.
Guests' personal data not only has to be recorded and stored, but above all the guidelines of data protection must be observed. In this article, we explain how you can comply with these guidelines. You will also find a template for guest registration as a free download and tips and tricks for guest registration with digital solutions.
Reserving tickets before the event or asking the organiser for a spot on the guest list to be able to go to the party after all: At events, the registration of guests is a perfectly normal process. It's different in the catering industry: It's only thanks to Corona that most restaurateurs have to deal with guest registration. Suddenly there are forms, guidelines, threats of punishment and of course data protection that must also be guaranteed.
This is certainly annoying, but it is also one of the most effective non-medical ways to contain the pandemic. Only if chains of infection can be traced, the Corona virus can be effectively stopped.
To ensure this in restaurants, bars and cafés, restaurateurs are obliged to register their guests and, if necessary, hand over these lists to the relevant health authorities.
As a restaurateur or organiser, you are obliged to record and document some of your guests' data in order to protect them from the Corona virus. This applies equally to Germany and Austria. This includes not only personal data, but also attendance time and table number. Depending on the federal state's requirements, a complete address may also have to be provided.
- First and last name
- Phone number
- District / municipality of permanent residence
- Full address or e-mail address
- Attendance time
- Possibly place and table number, if available
It is also part of the restaurateur's duty to check the apparent misrepresentation of the guests. Obviously false statements such as "Donald Duck" or the telephone number 000/12345 are not allowed and you have the right to expel such persons from the premises.
It becomes more difficult with frequent and generic names: Tom Smith and Lisa Müller could be fake, or a real name. If you give false information, you are liable to a fine of at least €50, in some federal states a multiple of that, to be paid by the guests concerned. Legal experts are not yet in agreement as to whether, in case of doubt about the information given, the guest can be asked to present his or her identity card.
By the way: Other professions are also obliged to keep attendance lists, such as hairdressing and cosmetics firms or cultural institutions like theatres or museums.
While keeping an attendance list for guest registration is in itself a relatively simple process, it gets a little more complicated when it comes to data protection. There are a number of things to consider here to ensure that the personal data of your guests is also managed in accordance with the GDPR. We have summarised the most important points for you. In general, similar regulations apply to Germany and Austria, although individual points may differ slightly depending on the federal state.
This must be kept safe. So protect the data mainly from the eyes of other guests, but also from the eyes of third parties such as unauthorised employees and suppliers. The biggest no-go: Don't pass on the list of guest data to other guests to fill it out, it is best if each guest gets a new sheet. Keep the completed sheets safely (preferably locked) in the office. Our tip: With a digital registration you will always work in compliance with GDPR.
Don't worry, you don't have to expand your office for tons of paper with guest data. You are even obliged to securely destroy the guest data after a certain period of time. This deadline is one month in most federal states, but there may be regional variations. Again: Digital systems are sustainable and do not generate paper waste.
This must also comply with data protection. Guest registrations on paper are best shredded in a document shredder. Online data must not simply be thrown into the trash, but must be securely deleted. For this purpose, there are various help programs for Windows and Mac, some of which are free.
This not only makes sense because you don't have to pass the sheets on to other guests, but also so that you know exactly when to destroy the data.
You must not simply collect the data, but you must also inform your guests about the purpose of the data collection. You can do this, for example, by handing out the information together with the data sheet, as in our free template, or just display this information for all to see or add a page to your menu. The following information should be available: Name and contact details of the data controller and the data protection officer, the purpose of the data collection and its legal basis, possible recipients (e.g. public health authorities), duration of the data storage, indication of the existence of the right of access, rectification, erasure or limitation of the processing as well as the right to complain to a supervisory authority, indication that the data subjects can only be served, informed or examined if they agree to the data collection.
The public health department may ask you to send the data from your guest registration. You should document this process and choose a secure transmission method, by post, fax or e-mail with end-to-end encryption. With a digital solution you have a clear advantage here too!
Data may not be misused for any other purpose as defined in the GDPR. If you only collect the data for guest registration through the Corona measures, you may not use it for advertising or other communication purposes.
Register your guests with this GDPR-secure document. Suitable for gastronomy and trade/craft, with instructions. Only available in German.
A template for rules of conduct in your company to contain the spread of the Corona virus.
Ask your guests to keep the minimum distance. The second version with reference to the mask obligation.
If you don't want to bother your guests with paper lists, we have your back! Unnecessary waste of paper, useless space to keep these paper lists, data can be lost quickly - just to name a few disadvantages of the analogue guest registration.
Of course, digitalisation has not stopped here either: We have developed a tool with which you can digitally register your guests. We have developed MATE's registration form so variable that you can adapt it in just a few steps and use it for guest registration. You can adapt the form editor so that you can enter table numbers and arrival times. Here you will find detailed instructions.
With the new checkout function, guests can indicate when they left your event or location. Remember: Even if you register guests with MATE, you must delete the data after the appropriate time to comply with data protection regulations. This works best if you delete the guests individually, or even an entire event. This procedure corresponds to a secure deletion process, as prescribed by data protection regulations.
A further advantage: The MATE registration form offers a checkbox which allows you to obtain the guests' consent to the use of your data for marketing purposes. It is important that it is clearly visible what the user gives his consent for.
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Guest registration is an important tool in the fight against Corona. Data protection in particular is giving many restaurateurs and event organisers headaches, so here is a summary of the most important points. Regardless of whether you collect the data in analogue form or with a guest registration software such as MATE, always treat the personal data of your guests confidentially, observe deletion periods and proper deletion paths and do not use data for advertising purposes unless you have given your consent.
Disclaimer: The contents of the website are created with the greatest care. However, we cannot guarantee that it is up-to-date and complete.
By Anne Brünnert
Content Management Freelancer with a preference for digital topics, agile projects and with stage experience.
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