CEO and Co-founder of Dine Out
It is just an idea that you need to have to start up your business but the inception of that idea is quiet critical. Amidst all new born entrepreneurs, who has fallen for success, it is hard to make yourself visible and available for the targeted customers. This is the story of that one red headed match stick amongst all the black.
“It all started from a phone call, I made to my co-founder, Sahil Jain”, said Ankit Mehrotra, founder of Dineout, who was working at a top Investment Bank in London before the idea of starting something of his own struck him.
He was here for a holiday with friends in the year 2010 when he realized that every time he went out with his friends in Delhi, it was to the same places he had already been to previously and did not actually go to any new place. Sharing this with Sahil, his friend and co-founder of Dineout, he figured this was due to a number of reasons, mainly; The lack of information about any new place which might have recently opened, reluctance of his friends to try a different place for the fear of being let down and probably the most important, lack of a truly unique, independent website which a person could use to find out about where to dine out in the city. Sahil also agreed to his thought and they decided to change the trend of dinning out.
Ankit, an Investment Banker by profession, living in London for the last 10 years, advancing very well professionally and had just received his CFA charter; Sahil, an IIM graduate, was well settled in Seattle, working on a project with Microsoft, finally one fine day, both left their jobs and returned back to India; thus Dineout was born and thus began the long and arduous journey!!!
It was the summer of 2011 when the actual work began. On one side, the work of conceptualizing of the website & their service was going on and on the other hand, they were out and about meeting different restaurants trying to convince them about the idea. However, two of their school friends, Nikhil, working for one of the top fund house in India, and Chief Officer Vivek, was just about to set sail, but then at the last minute developed an illness which his company had never heard about; joined them as a team as they had full faith in the product and its vision.
After many ups and downs, with a unique credibility “Dine Out” came out in a picture perfect way on 29th Feb 2012. Foodies could view all the available information about any restaurant along with the possibility of booking a table for their meal instantly, if they decided to go to any restaurant. They cut short the endless and countless calls to the place of visit, provides fantastic discounts absolutely free, just for making a booking through them, they have a perfect venue for all kind of requests- birthday parties, anniversary parties, corporate parties etc.
How is Dineout different from the other similar websites?
Search and Explore for Restaurants where they would like to dine.
Discover best offers at their favorite restaurants which are absolutely FREE.
Book their tables conveniently at their favorite restaurants at the click of a button. Alternatively, they can call us on our booking hotline number or download our mobile apps to make their bookings on the go. No more searching for different numbers for different restaurants.
Get personalized recommendations for dining out
Get customized party packages organized in a hassle free manner
Get Authentic Reviews only from verified actual diners. The reviews are from actual diner and the system cannot be gamed. One cannot leave a review for a restaurant unless and until he/she have booked through them and they have received confirmation that the customer actually dined.
“One of the first things we realized was that the real backbone of any venture is their customer service, especially in a country like India, where the customers are extremely demanding. Understanding the customer’s requirement and providing them an appropriate solution is the key to satisfying the customer and gaining their trust and faith. Hence, we set about getting more and more customers to use our service, and the one way to do that was to get more restaurants to sign up with us” said Ankit.
For last 12 months they have been bootstrapping. The friends who were earning well as individuals now had to dig into their savings to fund their business. They cut down their expanses, compromise their lifestyle and tried to get the maximum out of each rupee spent. They worked out of Sahil’s garage to save money on rent, started travelling by public transport to save money spent on petrol. And all the money saved went towards growing Dineout. They took on more employees, designed cost effective innovative marketing campaigns and generally did their best to stretch each rupee spent. They went from being a team of 7 to a team of 20 in 2 months, moved into a bigger office, started maintaining a marketing budget and started growing aggressively.
In 6 months they tripled the number of monthly diners, doubled their restaurant partners and also launched a New City. Business was growing and morale of the employees was high.
Meanwhile, they also received a lot of recognition for the all the hard work they were doing and won numerous awards like the first ever Webspark award by yourstory.in, Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2012 at the Indira International Innovation Summit and Microsoft Bizspark, regional runners up.