In the News.
1. DineTonite on youngupstarts.com - March 25, 2011
2. DineTonite on ABC TV News - March 09, 2011
3. The Village Voice Blogs - Feb 15, 2011
4. NY Times Diner's Journal - Feb 15, 2011
DineTonite on youngupstarts.com:
By Daniel Goh, Friday, March 25, 2011
DineTonite (www.dinetonite.com) is a New York-based dining membership site which offers real-time reservations and special discounts at top restaurants in New York City.
DineTonite offers parties of up to eight people savings on their bills in participating mid to high-end NYC restaurants. The quantum of savings depend on the total bill, determined by how much food and drinks are consumed – restauranteurs can also offer variable savings tailored to peak and off-peak periods, for example.
“We offer our restaurant partners access to an ever growing group of savvy patrons who enjoy meaningful savings and also appreciate fine dining,” said Mohammed Islam, founder and CEO of DineTonite. “Our dynamic business model allows restaurants to adjust their offered savings depending on the popularity of certain days and times, enabling them to greatly expand their customer base.” Participating restaurants are not charged for the service, but a nominal booking fee is charged to the DineTonite member per reservation regardless of the party size.
Islam says that his service is positioned differently from the current rage of “daily-deal” sites. “DineTonite is not a “daily deal” site that offers small dollar amount discounts if only certain customer numbers are reached,” said Islam. “By providing unlimited savings for patrons at DineTonite’s participating restaurants, we provide our members the flexibility to save as much as they desire.” He says his site is more than a reservations site such as OpenTable and focus more on savings than Yelp, which is review-centric. “While we are working with restaurants across multiple price points, we do focus on upper scale establishments and dining savvy customers. “With the constraints of the down economy, more people are finding a nice meal out to be a luxury they cannot afford,” he explains. “Our model helps make such excursions more viable by providing deep percentage discounts.”
DineTonite are focusing on adding new restaurants in New York City, and plan on expanding to five to seven other metropolitan areas only from next year. “We want quality restaurants to become DineTonite partners, and don’t want to compromise the value that customers receive,” Islam explains.
New York – Where Dreams Are Made
Mohammed Islam is a serial entrepreneur in his mid-50s and immigrated to the United States from Bangladesh in 1976. After working in various industries, he bought a franchise restaurant years ago, and later expanded into other restaurants and retail businesses. “I have always enjoyed working for myself and the many opportunities for success that one can find in New York,” he adds.
Islam saw the Internet as the transformative next frontier for business, and wanted to be a part of that revolution, which led to him starting DineTonite. He also owns a business that provides real-time financial services to mobile devices (www.PDATrade.com), and is involved in the online magazine AllMediaNY.
His views on entrepreneurship is simple – just do it. “If someone has a good idea with a defined marketplace, they really need to just go for it. The key is providing a real benefit and value to the consumer and any involved merchant. You do have to be comfortable with risks, both in terms of time and finances.”
Islam – who’s Muslim – says that he’s not encountered any discrimination at all during his work as an entrepreneur. “As long as my site is working well and everyone is benefiting, I don’t have any problems. I have met with many different restaurant owners throughout the city and elsewhere, and they have all been exceptionally friendly and eager to setup business arrangements.”
DineTonite on ABC TV News:
By Sandra Bookman, Wednesday, March 09, 2011
NEW YORK (WABC) -- Reciting the specials of the day is one of the pleasures of the job for Manhattan restaurateur Antonio Cerra. Keeping tables filled during a shaky economy isn't.
Reciting the specials of the day is one of the pleasures of the job for Manhattan restaurateur Antonio Cerra. Keeping tables filled during a shaky economy isn't.
It's one of the reasons he's listed his East Side eatery "Padre Figlio" on a newly launched website called DineTonite.com. The website promises real-time reservations and substantial savings.
"On the surface, it makes all the sense in the world. There are people who want to go out and they would like to get something. A little more band for their buck. We have no problem with that," said Cerra. According the National Restaurant Association, in this down economy, 2 out of 5 consumers say they're not eating out as much as they'd like. The creators of dinetonite.com believe their service could change that. Membership is free to consumers and restaurants. Logging onto the site gives you a list of places to choose from along with the discount that each offers, sometimes even as much as 30 percent.
There are even photos and reviews to help you choose. Once you pick a date and book a table, subscribers are charged a $5.00 fee. "If you are getting a 30 percent discount on a $200 check, you know it's pretty easy to do the math," said Michael Cardosa from Dinetonite.com More than a few restaurant savvy New Yorkers told us quality is also important. Just the promise of big savings is not enough if the food is mediocre. "Well, I think you don't necessarily want to go to a restaurant just because you get a discount. You want to go to a good restaurant that has good food," said one New Yorker.
"We would not do anything if we did not feel that once you come in, you wouldn't want to come back," said Cerra. Cerra's Padre Figlia is one of the 30 restaurants on the site right now. And DineTonite's management insists it's highly selective when it comes to member establishments, acknowledging that cash-strapped consumers still want a satisfying dining experience.
The Village Voice Blogs:
By Lauren Shockey, Tuesday., Feb. 15 2011 @ 12:16PM
Just when you thought your inbox couldn't get any more crowded with coupons advertising 30 percent off dinner comes a new, New York City-focused dining membership website called DineTonite.
So how is DineTonite going to differentiate itself? The majority of restaurants that are featured on sites like BlackboardEats, VillageVines, and Gilt are the sorts of buzzy places that are ephemerally popular, while the restaurants on DineTonite are lesser-known and include a lot of neighborhood joints (I Coppi, Alcala, Marmara, and Tree are four of the 26 restaurants currently featured). When pressed to explain why DineTonight is a better website than VillageVines, the site it most resembles, a representative noted that they have a real-time reservation system versus an email message; guests can make reservations up to one year in advance; there's a lower booking fee; and it has more enhanced search features. Are those attractive enough to lure consumers? Perhaps not the die-hard foodies (yet), but the good thing about these restaurant discount sites coming to market is that, at the end of the day, everyone loves a deal.
NY Times Diner's Journal:
By Glenn Collins, Tuesday., Feb. 15 2011 @ 07:20PM
Start-up restaurant-discount Web sites are becoming more numerous than those Chinese menus stuffed in New Yorkers’ mailboxes. Now comes DineTonite, which offers real-time reservations and discounts from 20 to 40 percent at nearly 30 restaurants. Most of them are neighborhood spots in Manhattan, and many are already moderately priced. The roster includes some of the Nino’s group of old-school Italian restaurants; the upscale Italian steakhouse Padre Figlio, and Nocello, the Tuscan standby near Carnegie Hall.
“No matter how many are doing it, we think that any service that makes eating out more affordable for customers in this recession is a good thing,” said Mohammad Islam, DineTonite’s chief executive and a former restaurant owner. He now runs several financial Web sites. “Restaurants’ fixed costs are the same if they are full or empty, so the more diners we can bring to them, the better it is for everyone,” he said.
DineTonite has an Open Table-ish online reservation system. Instead of publicly proffering coupons or informing servers of their discount, diners are electronically booked as discount recipients. Fellow diners need never know that they’ve made a deal.
Unlike some other sites that offer e-mail discount alerts, DineTonite is searchable for dates, times and availability, and all its participating restaurants offer discounts continuously. Diner “members” register for free on the Web site, then pay $5 by credit card online for each reservation booking. Unlike Groupon and other sites that offer Internet-organized group buying, the restaurants do not have to pay the Web site part of each check they collect, and discount offers are not withdrawn if enough participants don’t sign up in timed auctions.