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Dineout throws open challenge to users to further help boost the restaurant industry

Educating and winning back the confidence of users to step out for dining is our focus

Ankit Mehrotra
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Ankit Mehrotra, CEO & Co-founder of Dineout

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With the F&B industry making a comeback this festive season, welcoming patrons to restaurants for a safe and hygienic dining experience, Dineout, India's largest dining out and restaurant tech platform, has put out an open challenge to users with their Great Dineout Challenge to further help boost the restaurant industry. Ankit Mehrotra, CEO & Co-founder of Dineout, elaborates in an exclusive interview with Bizz Buzz

What has been the impact of Covid on the F&B industry and what role would Dineout want to play in helping the industry move forward?

An industry that employs 7.3 million people came to a complete shutdown and standstill due to Covid. An industry promoting social gatherings had to promote social distancing, with 35 per cent even closing down shutters forever. The F&B industry clearly was one of the biggest hit industries with a monetary loss as high as Rs 100,000 crore.

Right from the beginning of the lockdown, Dineout as a whole restaurant service and tech solution company has invested in initiatives like restaurant vouchers to support restaurants monetarily. We pioneered in offering our inresto technology suites for contactless dining to meet the need of the hour.

Our strong partnership with our clients is a testament to our efforts with over 10,000 leading F&B restaurants and casual dining or quick-service chains, including Azure Hospitality, Plum by Bent Chair, Farzi Cafe, Subway, Hard Rock Cafe, Mad Over Donuts, Mainland China and The Great Kabab Factory, Giani and Baskin Robbins, have partnered Dineout to provide a contactless and safe dining-out experience to their customers.

We also provided Safe To Eat Out measures via hygiene certifications, protective gear kits, restaurant and user education and much more. We even introduced in-room dining tech to support hotels to offer contactless services by minimising customer touchpoints within the hotel. We also upscaled with our offerings beyond dine-in to delivery and takeaways. While making the restaurants stronger on the back-end, we focused on educating and winning back the confidence of users who were skeptical of stepping out. With campaigns on Safe To Eat Out, we helped drive higher footfalls to restaurants and boost their business.

Give us a background of Dineout and how has it grown over the years?

Dineout started with a simple concept of enabling reservations back in 2012. At a time of digitisation, Dineout enabled discovery and reservations of restaurants. We eventually expanded our services to listing offers and deals to provide savings to the users. We're also providing digital menus along with a payments platform to users to ensure a 360-digree digital experience from start to end. We scaled our operations on the technology front to help manage back-end operations like POS (point of sale) and billing.

Today, Dineout is India's largest dining out and restaurant tech platform operating across the B2C (business-to-consumer) domain through the Dineout consumer platform and across the B2B (business-to-business) domain through inresto, which is a first-of-its-kind integrated software solution for restaurants to manage both their front-end and back-end operations seamlessly.

The Dineout app enables approx 100 million diners to do transactions worth $900 million at over 50,000 partner restaurants annually, while inresto is the largest tech provider to the restaurant industry with more than 20,000 partner restaurants.

What are the collaborations currently happening with the F&B industry?

We are partnering multiple brands, both small and large, who can use our services to grow their business. We're also partnering different category brands in the fitness, mobile, travel and banking space to create the top-of-the-mind recall.

What is the thought process behind the 'open challenge' promotion and what kind of results do you expect to see from the promotion?

The restaurant industry needed an added boost to survive this brutal year with the majority of thebusinesses affected or shut. With our Great Dineout Challenge, we want to instill confidence in our users and give them reasons to dine out more and enjoy the festive season safely. Everyone loves a challenge and cannot resist the temptation to give it a try. So, we at Dineout put on our thinking hats and laid out an open challenge to foodies across India with the best offers for free with no strings attached, minus the hassles of paid memberships, OTPs, coupons codes, conditions or referrals!

Which are some of your stellar promotions in the past?

The Great Indian Restaurant Festival (GIRF) is the campaign we started in 2016 and it's our annual sale event which has a proven track record of 3x growth year-on-year for our restaurant partners. We've done five editions of this festival so far where we do the majority of our marketing spends across digital, print, FM radio, social, influencers, publishers etc. Our campaign theme for this year is "No Drama Only Khaana" and has won us multiple awards for the best influencer campaign of the year.

Fear No Bill is another key property that we promote across the year to promote our digital payment service Dineout Pay. This year, our Safe To Eat Out and contactless dining promotions across our brands Dineout, inresto and Dineout Passport are seeing huge popularity.

What is the way forward for the company?

Customer experiences and technology are the two backbones on which Dineout thrives. We continue to focus on our two key stakeholders - customers and restaurant partners - to enable savings, growth and unmatched experiences every day, month and year. We continue to expand in cities, grow vertically and horizontally to expand our services and continue to be India's largest dining out and restaurant tech platform.

Which are the different ways you collaborate with restaurants to grow their business?

Restaurant tech is our unique offering in India where we provide wholesome services. Inresto offers a complete front and back of the house technology solution to restaurateurs through a suite of services such as reservation management, feedback management, campaign management, loyalty management, white label application, dine-in management, point of sale, inventory management and supply chain management. On the B2C front, our all year round promotions and strong marketing capabilities enable various organic and paid marketing opportunities to restaurants. Think of us as a restaurant boutique agency to help them grow and boost their business.

We also organise specialised experiences via our premium membership programme Dineout Passport, which gives premium restaurants to stand out and be a part of a niche club.

To us, every restaurant is unique and we provide tailor-made packages both on the tech and user front.

Vincent Fernandes
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