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Cape Town’s Dineplan has gone from offering booking service software to restaurants, to a launching their own app — that allows diners to search for available tables and instantly book at more than 1000 restaurants countrywide.
The app, available on Android and iOS phones since last week, allows users to explore restaurants by availability, name and area or find nearby restaurants with available tables based on their current location to make effortless reservations at a tap of a button.
Diners can peruse ratings, cuisines on offer, price range, open times and the attributes of each eatery to help them pick and book a table at a restaurant of their choice.
Dineplan co-founder Greg Whitfield (pictured above, right) said the company did a soft launch of the app in December and that since then 1868 people have downloaded the app and created an account. So far 3819 bookings have been made via the Dineplan app.
Dineplan has since garnered 2500 to 3000 registered users since the company did a soft launch of the app in December
The Cape Town company was founded by Whitfield (who heads up sales) and developer Martin Rose, who have been friends since school, in 2011.
He said the move to add an app was a “natural progression” to the company’s existing service — restaurant booking software to facilitate phone or internet bookings (it includes an unbranded widget) which the company offers as a subscription service to over 1000 restaurants countrywide.
The service has facilitated 13.4 million bookings at an average of 5.1 people per booking with over 2.8 million of these being online bookings, said Whitfield.
All types of restaurants are using Dineplan, from the award-winning The Test Kitchen, to Spurs and everything in between, he says. The service has been in operation since 2013. About 20 000 bookings are made daily through the service, said Whitfield.
He added that the majority of those who downloaded the app during the soft launch were international tourists. He attributed this to those overseas being more used to using apps or web platforms than local users, having used them for perhaps the last 15 to 20 years. “Online booking is still young in South Africa,” he said.
However, it is on the increase. He pointed out that online bookings as a percentage of total bookings through the company’s service have increased steadily since inception. “This has increased from around 7% in 2013 to 30% currently, and an average of 21% over the five years,” he said.
To drive users, the company would promote the app through its existing network of restaurants, he said. He added that he and Rose decided to steer away from offering things such as discounts to diners on meals or loyalty points if they book using the app — as this would create an additional cost for restaurants.
He said he and Rose have relied on funding the company themselves. The company has 11 employees.
Featured image (from left to right): Dineplan co-founders Martin Rose and Greg Whitfield (Supplied)