Who is today’s business diner? Our new study is chock-full of great insights

What do business diners look like?

The truth is, it’s hard to say. With Millennials soon to make up  the majority of the workforce and rapid shifts in corporate culture, a business diner could be the 25-year-old in a hoodie grabbing a bite at the airport, or a suited-up professional wining and dining clients at a steakhouse.

While we’ve been able to pinpoint common misconceptions about the business diner, we wanted to take it a step further. Business dining is a $77 billion business in the U.S. making it the third largest T&E category, but little formal research has been done to understand the habits and preferences of business diners — until now.

To help participating companies make the most of Dinova, we partnered with Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) to conduct a detailed, first-of-its-kind survey of corporate card-holding professionals who travel for work. The result? Surprising insights into business travelers dining habits, technology use, and attitudes toward company expense policies.

As we dug into the research, we found some interesting facts that we weren’t expecting:


Generational differences in business dining

  • The longer the career, the larger the tab. Baby Boomers tend to look for upscale dining choices when they travel (79%), as opposed to most Millennials (51%) who opt for fast food.


  • Gen Xers are most likely to be part of a pack. About a third of Gen Xers said they typically had lunch or dinner with coworkers while on business. Millennials seem to prefer solo, on-the-go dining.
  • Millennials are less comfortable expensing extras. The majority (2 out of 3) said they hesitated to expense “extras” like coffee and snacks. That number was only 1 of 3 for Boomers, and 1 of 2 for Gen Xers.


How business diners use food & restaurant technology


  • Business diners have embraced mobile apps. The majority (63%) of diners we surveyed had dining-related apps on their mobile phones.
  • Yelp is the most popular app among business diners. 53% of business diners said they used the Yelp app. Others in the top 5 were TripAdvisor (50%), GrubHub (36%), OpenTable (34%), and Uber Eats (34%).
  • Different generations use dining technology differently. Millennials are more prone to use delivery apps (45% used Uber Eats), while Boomers are more likely to use review-oriented apps like Yelp (74%).


Business diners want to eat like a local, but want ‘tried and true’


  • Most diners seek out local flavors. 77% of business travelers said they preferred to “eat like a local,” and half (49%) researched foods that were unique to their destination.
  • Brand recognition is still important. 59% of business travelers find comfort in having “trusted brands” as available options when they travel.



Many companies offer lenient dining policies, and reward programs are catching on


  • Per diems aren’t required. One in three (34%) of respondents said their company enforced a per diem. More common is encouragement to use guidelines instead (41%).


    • It’s not always cut and dry. Nearly a quarter of respondents (22%) said they have no formal dining policy at all.
    • Careful with the money. Even with this in mind, diners aren’t always comfortable asking for reimbursement on all items. 46% of respondents said they were concerned about appearing irresponsible for expensing things outside of policy.


  • Corporate dining policies are flexible, and sometimes non-existent. Only 1 in 3 professionals surveyed said their company enforces a per diem. Another 22% said their company had no formal dining policy at all.



For a more in-depth look at the study’s results, download the whitepaper here.


What did you find most surprising about the research? How will you use the findings to drive your business?


Fatherhood and the Working Man

It’s almost Father’s Day, and we here at Dinova love to celebrate family! Recently, we caught up with our Chief Technology Officer, Danny Davis, who gave us some great perspective on what it means to be a working dad.

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Question: Tell us a little about your family.

Answer: Being a working father isn’t always easy. When you’re an involved parent, making choices about how to spend your time is important. I have three children, ages 7, 9, and 11, and every minute I get to spend with them is a win in my book. As a father, making choices about work directly correlates with how I spend time with my kids. Understanding that these ages are fleeting and we can’t turn the clock back really drives my decision-making process.

Q: What makes it difficult to keep a work-life balance?

A: As an entrepreneur, it was difficult to turn my brain off from the worry and stress of running a business, but when it came time to join a successful company the choice was based on my family. As a dad, when I bring work home with me there are two things that suffer: time and emotion; and the two are not mutually exclusive. It’s not enough to just be home but I should be engaged. Kids know when parents aren’t engaged with them. Unplugging and looking up goes a long way with kids, because they are smart; and if they are anything like mine, they are also little lie detectors. You can’t fool them into thinking your present when you’re not.

When I was looking for a company to join, I didn’t consider any jobs that took me away from them for extended periods of time, or that required a constant need to take work home in the evenings and on weekends. Understandably, when you’re in the middle of a large project, there are times when you need to put in extra hours, but on the regular, it’s nice to be home.

Q: When you are dining for business – do you end up talking about kids?

A: When I am working, it’s very easy to talk about the fun and cute things the kids do that entertain my wife and me. This particularly happens during business meals. Any time you’re dining on official company business, there is always a relationship building portion of the meeting and that is where children come up. Exchanging “war stories” with other parents always turns into laughter, because kids are funny. Especially mine (no bias here).

Q: Has being a father affected the way you see employees or potential employees?

A: Having children has certainly changed how I see employee relationships. I believe relationships exist the same in all scenarios of life, whether its family dynamic, work or personal relationships; the way you treat other people should be the same, and you train your kids for what they’ll eventually need in the work place. You shouldn’t be a separate person from one place to the next, because that creates personal inconsistencies. It’s especially important when thinking about my daughters becoming adults and entering the workforce.

I’ve always felt I’ve treated everyone fairly, regardless of gender, color, religious views or other diversities that make society so unique and dynamic. Of course, there’s always more to learn, and in today’s world I find myself thinking things like “would my daughter feel this way about this” or “is this something she’d be interested in doing.” I know, one day my girls will grow up and tell me how they feel about their work experiences, and I hope they will always have a positive outlook and be able to handle difficult moments with grace.

Q: What advice would you give to working dads about work-life balance?

Think about what you remember about your parents. Is it what they did or how much money they made? Or, is it what they taught you, the time spent and bonding?

A: My advice to working dads goes back to my previous comment. Pay attention to how much real time you have with your children, and find those pockets of influence that are just you and them. No outside distractions. Those are the moments that not only they will cherish, but that you will remember for the rest of your life.

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Special thanks to Danny Davis for sharing his life as a working dad with us!

Dinova’s Quarter 1 Recap

It has been a great start to the year for us, and we wanted to share some of our Q1 news in case you missed it!

Mo’ restaurants, mo’ diners: We added more than 200 restaurant locations in the first quarter and one that we featured is award-winning Newk’s Eatery, who joined the marketplace in January. Newk’s offers grilled and tossed salads, grilled and toasted sandwiches, kettle-batch soups and handcrafted pizzas, each made with premium ingredients such as sushi-grade ahi tuna, tenderloin steak, Atlantic salmon, imported cheeses, scratch-made sauces and dressings, and fresh-brewed Rainforest Alliance Certified iced teas.


“Dinova enables Newk’s Eatery to grow its relationship with expense account diners, which is especially important in a traffic-challenged environment,” said Stewart Slocum, CMO of the 120-restaurant Newk’s Eatery brand. “Partnership with Dinova grows not only dine-in traffic with business diners but also catering, to go, gift card and gifting business lines.”

Dinova’s mobile app and web search got a facelift: Dinova’s tech team gave its mobile app and web search a facelift, capitalizing on its one-of-a-kind user base, Dinova’s online and mobile experience provide restaurants and business diners with access to one another through a proprietary channel. The new app and web search give users access to state-of-the-art technology that enhances usefulness and content.


“The new Dinova app creates a user experience that allows business diners to search for any cuisine type in any market at any time,” says Danny Davis, Chief Technology Officer. “We’ve included a dynamic search radius that will always have dining options readily available no matter where the user is located. The app also gives users access to online ordering and catering at many of our 14,000 restaurant locations nationwide.”

Show me the $$$: When it comes to managing money, Dinova’s got you covered. At the start of 2018, it was announced that the annual business dining spend under management surpassed $7 billion, and continues to grow.


“Surpassing $7 billion in annual business dining spend influence is tremendously exciting for us,” said Vic Macchio, Founder, Executive Chairman, and Chief Strategy Officer at Dinova. “In this $60 billion industry, we are confident that our marketplace – and our ability to shine a spotlight on the value of business dining – will only continue to grow.”

When you’re the expert: Word is getting around that Dinova is the expert in all things business dining related. As a result, our own Founder, Executive Chairman, and Chief Strategy Officer, Vic Macchio was featured in Business Travel Executive’s Recipe for Savings.

Macchio offered multiple insights for business travel managers in regard to business dining, and even notes that “until we point out the opportunity to manage dining spend, it’s typically the first time anyone at these corporations looks at it and they are usually blown away at how large it is.”


We’re very proud of our accomplishments and can’t wait to see what the rest of the year has to bring. Until next time: keep it crispy, y’all.

To keep up with Dinova in the news, visit www.dinova.com/news

Dinova is Dishing Up a Better Search.

You know the saying – high tech means high touch. Nourishing connections with our companies, restaurants and business diners means that we at Dinova need to ensure that our mobile tools are of the most pristine value. That’s why we are so excited to announce the launch of our new web search and app to make your foodie experience better than ever in the Dinova marketplace! We sat down with Danny Davis, Chief Technology Officer, to share with you what’s going on in the mobile tech space and what we’ve done to dish up a smarter search for you.

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Danny Davis, Chief Technology Officer

Q: What are consumers looking for in a user experience with using an app in 2018?  How are we meeting those expectations here at Dinova with the new release?

Davis: “Smartphone users have become accustomed to the fluidity and immediacy of the digital age. And, thanks to advancements in mobile app user interfaces from large brands such as Google, Apple and Amazon, the user experience is the most important part of any mobile app. After all, according to eMarketing, the average time spent inside an app in 2017 was 3 hours and 23 minutes as opposed to mobile web, which was 50 minutes*. This puts pressure on app designers to make user experiences unforgettable.

As we continue to advance in electronics and software, digital companies continuously set the expectations for users with each new upgrade. Statista observes that in 2016, 23 percent of users abandoned an app after first use, while 27 percent used an app two to five times before never using it again. * No longer can a smartphone app look shoddy and pieced together, but it must flow with beautiful hi-resolution photos and an ease of use with detailed specs that help them accomplish whatever task needed that day; even if it is just flinging birds at pigs.

Not surprisingly, with high demand of an excellent user experience, Dinova has successfully designed its latest app to meet the expectations of the digitally savvy business diner. The interface in the new app offers an ease of use and understanding that makes it simple to search for restaurants within our marketplace no matter where the user is located in the U.S.”


 Q: How does visual engagement play a role in the experience from digital to dining?

Davis: “In our new app, we are giving business diners a unique glimpse into each of our 14,000+ restaurant locations that participate in the marketplace. By using mouth-watering images of food, along with detailed explanations of each restaurant offering, our app is providing an enhanced visual stimulus that users crave while giving them confidence that, regardless of which place they choose to eat, will provide to them an outstanding experience.

We also encourage business diners to return the visual favor by posting about their meals online and tagging our social media accounts which allows us to share great experiences with other diners.”

Q: How does the new experience in 2018 pave the way for what’s coming in the future?

Davis: “Right now is an exciting time in the digital world. New technology innovations nearly saturate the ever-changing landscape. What we see in the future for our app are key developments with the user experience while still providing the same ease of use for finding Dinova marketplace restaurants.

The future holds no limits digitally, and in later iterations of the Dinova app we will push notifications for restaurant recommendations in key markets, as well as a rate and review system for users to tell each other how they liked a restaurant in a certain city. These are just some of features we plan to add in the future, and we’re excited to keep learning, innovating and optimizing with every new update.”

Beautiful african woman using cellphone outdoors

Are you ready to experience the new world of Dinova? Download the app for IOS or Android and, after you’ve played around with your cuisine preferences, tell us what you think. We want to hear from you, so if you write us a review, we’ll give you the chance to win a restaurant gift card! We’re announcing winners every Monday on our social media accounts and the contest lasts all month long.

We’re so proud with the accomplishments we’ve made in our mobile world already in 2018 and we can’t wait to show you other innovations coming your way. Stay tuned, foodies!


* https://www.emarketer.com/corporate/coverage/be-prepared-mobile?ecid=m1216&CTA&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiWWpRME9HTmlPV013WkROayIsInQiOiJ4TDFKUlpSSDFXREl4cDVcL3Y3dmVUbGJSMU53V0pieStHSTkrUmZrTlNraTFRZnZlbGpMSmFqdGN0YlNSa1dJcjFxUFgwd0pHV0MyUmVGandZdDQwYkszRHlUdFhsWUpRVTZuOXFieTBUbFdNS0hsMnhEaGtGNzlBUCtYajNDcVEifQ%3D%3D


* https://www.statista.com/topics/779/mobile-internet/