How Dineout is bringing back a sense of normalcy post-pandemic as more people eat out

In a recent conversation with YourStory’s Daily Dispatch, Ankit Mehrotra, Co-founder and CEO, Dineout shares valuable insights on the growing trends when it comes to eating out, and discusses why more people than ever are now keen on dining out.

Founded in 2012, Dineout is a restaurant discovery and booking platform operating in 20 cities across the country, including in Tier-I and II cities. The restaurant-tech platform recently released a report revealing that there has been an overall 20 percent increase in ATV (Average Transaction Value) across India, with Delhi, Kolkata, and Hyderabad showing maximum recovery among the metros.

In a conversation with YourStory’s Daily Dispatch, Ankit Mehrotra, Co-founder and CEO, Dineout shares that it has been an interesting 18 months for the company. Since the end of the second wave, the startup has been seeing a return of business as people are now dining out a lot more. “The same user who was dining out two to three times a month is now dining out five to six times a month,” he says.

Since many people are now vaccinated, dining out has now become a more feasible option.

While Tier-I cities have naturally seen a good increment of 20-25 percent, Tier-II cities such as Agra, Indore, Lucknow, etc have seen an increase in traction, transaction, as well as transaction values, says Ankit. Reverse migration of people back to their hometowns is also a driving factor behind the increase in traction in Tier-II cities.

He shares that one of the prominent post-pandemic trends noticed is that people are now opting for fine dining or good quality restaurants as the hygiene factor comes into play. This has contributed to the average transaction value increasing by 20-25 percent across the board at Dineout.

“We are seeing a very high increase in Tier-II cities because typically, the transaction value over there is sub-2,000, and now, that has become near 2,800,” he says.

Ankit explains that the last 12-18 months have been a complete rollercoaster for Dineout, which has seen both troubling lows and relieving highs. At the beginning of the pandemic, the business stopped completely, owing to the lockdown. After the end of the second wave of the pandemic, within just three months, the company is now at much higher levels of business than the pre-pandemic phase.

“The month of September for Dineout is going to be nearly 1.8x of our pre-pandemic numbers,” he says. The factors accelerating the numbers are revenge consumption and a lot of disposable income as people are not spending much.

“Dining out gives people a sense of normalcy back to pre-pandemic levels and that is something that a lot of people are capitalising on,” says Ankit.

He mentions that Dineout has recently acquired an event curation company called SteppinOut, with the motive to explore the event space, especially as things start to open up, people would want to go out and have different kinds of experiences. As more people get vaccinated and are ready to go out, Dineout is also planning to go forward with a ten-city tour with artists such as Divine, Anuv Jain, etc.

“We have done many events inside restaurants such as Comedy Nights, where we have partnered with some of the best comedians across India to give people a live experience,” says Ankit.

Lastly, Ankit shares that the goal for Dineout is to go beyond the pre-pandemic levels as it would be a remarkable turnaround story for the company.

Edited by Kanishk Singh


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