Dineout: Connecting Diners to the Best-in-the-City Restaurant Discounts and Deals 

Ankit Mehrotra, Founder and CEO, Dineout

In this exclusive interview with Insights Success, lets learn about Dineout and its journey throughout the industry. Through this interview, let’s explore the various offerings, and services it provides to the customers, along with its plans. Following are the highlights of the interview:

1. Describe about your company in detail.

Dineout is India’s first and largest dining-out and table reservation platform processing more than 40Mn diners with a strong presence in 20 cities with a network of 50,000 restaurant partners. With our mission to make restaurants profitable, our B2B arm inresto is the restaurant tech solutions platform that offers both front-end and back-end solutions like online reservation app, digital menu, digital valet, digital payment, digital feedback, Campaign & Loyalty management module, POS & SCM system to a network of 50,000 restaurants. We cater to both sides of the industry. Customers can enjoy offers while saving through our table reservation platform while restaurants can run their operations smoothly with our 360-degree restaurant solution management.

One of our USPs is the cashback customers receive upon paying through our payment feature called Dineout Pay. In addition, to cater to a niche segment of diners, our premium dining membership – Dineout Passport, allows the food lovers to explore luxury and fine dining restaurants offering 1+1 on Buffets at 200+ top restaurants and minimum 25% off at 2000+ restaurants, including chain outlets and 500+ 5-star hotel restaurants.

We achieved a milestone when Times acquired Dineout in 2014 and post that there was no looking back. In August 2015, the firm acquired restaurant management solutions startup inresto Services Pvt. Ltd as well which is now our main B2B offering for the restaurant industry. In 2018, Dineout acquired Torqus, a cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) firm.

2. Brief us about the featured person and shed some light on his/her professional tenure.

Ankit Mehrotra is the Founder and CEO of Dineout. Prior to this, he was an investment banker in the UK. Ankit lives by the mantra ‘Hakuna Matata,’ which means don’t worry. Going by the same ideology, he took up the courage to leave his high-paying job eight years ago to return to India and bring his dream come to life.

Whenever he visited India, he felt the gap of a platform where one can search for restaurants and reserve a table to avoid any hassles later. The co-founders of Dineout, who are also real-life friends, would always end up meeting at a select few places every time without getting a chance to explore the new eateries. That is how the idea of changing the dining-out scenario in India cropped up.

During the initial phase, the company also went through a trial-and-error phase just like any other business. They realised that people use a table reservation app 3-4 times out of 10 when they are dining out, and this is especially around special occasions or when they are fine dining.

That is when they explored the market a bit and came up with the payments feature with cashback, popularly known as Dineout Pay. Evolving further in business and having a restaurant first approach, Dineout extended its services to their partner restaurateurs by offering them an end-to-end, plug and play product suite, a one-stop solution for managing a restaurant from anywhere.

3. What made you venture into the CRM Space?

We all know that ‘Customer is King.’ Any company servicing its customers must know their needs instead of telling them what they want. With stiff competition, today, understanding your customer and offering them services or products that can ease their life should be the fundamental rule. As an industry leader, inresto by Dineout has always been at the helm of helping restaurants. The food industry is customer-centric, from cuisines, drinks, ambiance to the overall service, it should be a satisfactory experience for them. Therefore, we aim to provide restaurants insight into their customer behavior that can be utilized to better their services and offerings and create a personalized experience. With detailed insights like customer buying and spending behavior, a restaurateur can leverage it to run offers and campaigns to widen their loyalty base and increase repeat customers.

4. What kind of offerings do you provide to your clients?

Our different modules are designed to help restaurants improve their everyday operations. inresto’s Guest and Reservation and DineIn module helps restaurateurs understand their customer behaviour like table preference and order preference. The feedback module is designed to get digital and instant feedback from the customers, which helps negate any negative feedback in the digital universe while allowing restaurants to act upon them instantly. The gathered information can be used to run personalised SMS and Email campaigns through our campaign module in a cost-effective manner.

5. Where do you envision your company to be in the long run and what are your future goals?

We aspire to be prominent in international geographies as a partner whose products and solutions always bring about more efficiency in the restaurant operations while being ahead of time. We have already started in the middle east and currently, we already have established a solid clientele in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, and Oman as well. Soon, we are looking to expand in South Asia and Australia.

With regards to the product, we will continue to innovate and provide the latest tech products to the restaurant industry and always help our partners be more efficient and profitable.

6. What is the current industrial scenario of the Indian CRM space?

The current CRM space in India has evolved many folds. It is not restricted to customer databases now but revolves around SaaS-based platforms and social media with the advent of technology. There are integrated solutions that provide a 360-degree solution to the customer insights like emails, SMS, social media reviews and messages, chatbots, and more. We can say that CRM is about customer reviews today and about the whole experience and engagement.

The world CRM market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.6% by 2028. There is a rising demand for automated and quick engagement with the customers while improving the services. Factors like these are the key driving force behind the increased demand for CRM solutions across the industries.

7. Is there any sort of additional support you offer the clients with alongside software solutions?

inresto is a bouquet of services for the restaurant industry. Our solutions fit every need and criteria for their day-to-day operations along with their growth. Some additional services that we offer to the restaurants are:

  • Our Contactless Dining Suite is specially curated to help restaurants operate smoothly during the Pandemic while maintaining the social distancing norms.
  • inresto marketing solutions include Paid Marketing on social media platforms, professional photoshoots, Search Engine Optimization, and Creative designing.
  • Equinox labs accreditation for enhanced hygiene certification of our partner restaurant.
  • StaqU’s video Analytics services to help keep a tab on all the activities going on in the restaurant.

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