Delray Beach restaurants using technology to lure customers and then keep them

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - The hostess at Boston's on the Beach asks for dozens of phone numbers a night.

"When we're ready to let them know their table is ready, we hit the button and it sends them a text message," said the hostess.

They use an iPad app to take names, phone numbers, size of the party and keep track of wait times.

"We're in an extremely competitive market here in Delray Beach," said Mark Deatly.

But the text message doesn't just get you a table.

After a meal, another text is sent to see if you want more texts. For specials and offers.

"It's more way to look around and get you to be interested. I'm not against that," said Boston's diner Judi Lucia.

Renee Bastiel didn't appreciate Boston's advances.

"It's too personal. We're coming here only to eat, we're on vacation," said Bastiel.

But restauranteurs say aggressive is the only way.

On the other side of Atlantic Ave. is Union. The owner there only advertises on Facebook.

His marketing budget is zero - which means he can afford to offer three-for-one drinks. He turned a profit in his first year in the biz.

"I sent a four dollar coupon out to our friends," said Union Owner Scott Kennedy. "I didn't have to pay for postage."

There's a small drawback to being so aggressive in new ways.

The text from Boston's tonight was the first a vacationer ever got.

"If they call me on the phone, I could answer it," said JoAnn O'Brien. "I don't text."

Bostons says around two-thirds of people who give their numbers for a table agree to receive text messages and special offers afterwards.

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