Dineplan: a unique dish or just another restaurant booking service?

Dineplan is launching its digital reservations system for restaurants today. While it joins a veritable smorgasbord of web-based restaurant reservation systems, Dineplan’s customer profiling and trend analysis features look promising.

The service is management-focused. There’s no patron-facing restaurant database to browse; instead, the South African-bred Dineplan is all about helping restaurants manage their reservation processes — from the real-time booking plugin that restaurant owners can add to their websites, to statistics and analytics.

A nice departure from traditional web-based offerings, Dineplan offers an offline mode, which allows restaurateurs to view bookings even if there their internet connectivity temporarily goes out.

Dineplan’s ability to profile clients over time is also an attractive feature. For example, a restaurant can monitor how many times a client has booked, cancelled or not shown. Over time clients can be ‘flagged’ as VIP or be allocated a negative flag, with Dineplan automatically notifying the restaurant when they make a booking. The VIP flag is useful for prompting the management team to add customer notes and preferences for making the dining experience extra special for repeat clients. Dineplan can further utilise this patron database to send newsletters, seasonal offers or other marketing campaigns.

Dineplan’s other standout feature is its reservation statistics which allows managers to compare bookings for particular times of the year, gather data on the average size of bookings or bookings per month, and evaluate the rate of walk-ins or no-shows.

Dineplan offers monthly subscriptions varying from a free basic solution, up through comprehensive packages for R200 per month depending on the feature set required. Dineplan is accessible from any internet enabled device — computer, tablet, smartphone — and we’re told that the data usage is minimal, so is the learning capital required. Dineplan’s team provides both telephonic and on-site support

Dineplan appears to lack the attractive marketing qualities of something like Table Magic, which offers browsable restaurant profiles complete with pictures and reviews, yet Dineplan has differentiated itself enough that it warrants thorough consideration.



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