So what has dineout been up to since their WebSparks triumph?Raghu Mohan
Delhi-based restaurant reservation startup dineout has been quietly working on a few interesting additions to their offerings. It’s been not more than 6 months since their WebSparks triumph, and dineout is currently operational in Delhi and Mumbai. Between the two cities, the company has signed up as many as 450 restaurants; the company serves more than 15,000 diners a month. And, as co-founder Vivek Kapoor informs, dineout is also launching its services in Bangalore; they’ve already signed up 30 restaurants.I asked Vivek how dineout has been received. He says, “In Delhi, people know us and now the sign up requests are inbound. It’s a great validation for us, and a lot of this trust comes from the value that we’re providing our customers. As of now, dineout provides restaurants owners with the luxury of being able to forget engaging with their clients, as we do it through the branding that they get from being on our site and through our strong social media presence. Also, it’s so cost-effective to them, as they pay us only when they get a table reserved through us.”
Vivek also believes that dineout’s review system is very credible. He says, “In this age when reviews on portals are taken so seriously, review can be doctored for good or bad. We have built the system in such a way that the reviews on dineout are only from people who have visited the restaurant. Also, our cloud telephony system calls people who have visited restaurants through us to know what their experience was like. And if there’s negative feedback, we share it with the restaurant owners. Eventually, we want to be able to share all feedback with the restaurant by giving them backend access to the system."
Vivek further said that the credibility of the website has further given them the opportunity to partner with industry biggies like Timescity and Tripadvisor. Other than this, they’ve also partnered with players like Cashkaro and Buzzintown. These partnership include the integration of dineout’s services in these websites, for every time someone searches for a restaurant.
Another important update from dineout’s den has been their electronic reservation book (ERB). This system is yet to launch fully, and would help restaurants in -
- Reservation management for normal walk-ins and online reservations into one platform, capturing guest details and allotting of tables.
- Table Management by creating a table layout and managing it like Bookmyshow.
- Creating guest profile and tapping database of actual diners.
- Feedback capture mechanism.
- Real time management of offers and promotions.
- Event management and promotions.
- Email and SMS marketing.
- Guest calling directly through ERB..
Vivek shared that the majority of their time and resources have been allotted to the development of this ERB, and the dineout team has even gone on to hire their chief technology officer for this. He says, “The product is going to be the game changer. Just imagine, having a single system that solves all of these problems for you. Rather than managing products from 5 different vendors, here we provide all of those solutions in one comprehensive package.” When asked about the competition, like Mobikon, Vivek said, “Competition is always a good sign. We’re betting on an integrated solution. Also, we’ve earned the trust of our users in Delhi. We’re yet to do that in Bangalore and Mumbai, but I feel we should be able to that.”dineout’s transactions still happen predominantly through their phone desk, but Vivek said that their online traffic is picking up fast. He says, “50% of our bookings are coming from online for us, and we've seen a surge in mobile traffic month on month, which is a good sign"
Before signing off, Vivek shared that dineout is looking to raise a Series A round soon, with plans of scaling operations to other metros and tier 2 cities in India. He says, “It’s been a really fun journey so far. The four of us (the co-founders) have known each other for almost all of our lives and starting up together has been great. In terms of scale, we started out of Sahil’s garage and now, we’ve broken even operationally in Delhi. We hope to continue this rate of growth.”
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