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:

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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.

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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?

 

Power Breakfasts and the Business Breakfast Movement

 

We’ve all heard it, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” But, do restaurateurs know just how important? Business professionals often use breakfast meetings as ground zero for negotiating, meeting up with colleagues or interviews. What happens over a breakfast meeting is very important, and what is even more important is the food. Corporate employees are getting smart about mixing food and business. While the traditional meeting over lunch and dinner is always a solid move, business diners are taking full advantage of the opportunity to get up early and meet over bacon, eggs and coffee.

Deemed the “power breakfast,” the movement is gaining traction throughout the restaurant industry, and many restaurateurs are taking notice by opening the doors earlier and adjusting offerings to accommodate this guest. In fact, many restaurant brands have re-branded, fast-casual version of their signature restaurant style to attract younger and more time-crunched customers while still appealing to their long-time patrons. This renewed focus on capturing the early birds creates a new revenue stream of customers that otherwise may not have been captured.

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So, how are restaurant brands approaching this change? Potbelly, once perceived as only a lunch and dinner brand, now offers business professionals a new breakfast section of their menu that takes the breakfast sandwich to an entirely new and mouthwatering level. Who knew you could order a delicious egg, sausage, and melted cheddar sandwich on top of a blueberry maple square bun while negotiating a high-level client deal?  Potbelly also provides corporate diners with the option to cater in breakfast for off-site meetings and events. Talk about power!

Diners are also paying careful attention to what they eat for breakfast as well.  The latest NRA State of the Industry study found that 7 in 10 diners would choose a restaurant where healthy food is available.  Millennials are also more likely to choose a restaurant with locally-sourced, or environmentally-friendly food items.

Bob Evans Breakfast

Another win in the power breakfast category is Bob Evans, where business diners can enjoy a variety of farm-fresh breakfast favorites and conduct an interview with prospective employees at the same time.  No matter the occasion, business diners can enjoy breakfast meals that includes the famous Farmer’s Choice Breakfast to the famous Pot Roast Hash.

“Business meetings allow people to savor great home-style breakfasts together, and at Bob Evans we’re serving more farm fresh fruits and vegetables than ever along with some fun new ways to enjoy them,” said a representative at Bob Evans. “It’s comfort with attitude for business diners: nothing short of simple, delicious, farm fresh, down to earth food done right! That’s the Bob Evans way.”

Whether it’s the road warrior looking for a quick breakfast bite with colleagues or the sales professional looking to engage with their prospects over pancakes, restaurants are stepping up the breakfast game in more ways than one in order to attract the everyday business professional.

 

 

 

 

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.

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“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.

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“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.

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“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

How To Plan The Perfect Company Picnic

Gorgeous sunshine, oh how we’ve missed that warmth! Feeling it again on our faces has us thinking of field days and class parties and – lucky us – now that we’re all grown up, that nearest adult equivalent: the company picnic.

Like any party variety, your company picnic can be mildly enjoyable or it can be memorably, ecstatically amazing, depending on your MASTER PLAN. Yes, the whos, the whats, the hows, the ooh-yes-pleases and all of the other don’t-forget-about-these details all need to be accounted for in one great big company picnic master plan. Whether you’re already knee-deep in arranging this summer’s big shindig or haven’t even begun to think about it and are starting to feel a little panicked, allow us to offer some suggestions on putting together a killer Company Picnic Master Plan.

STEP 1

Answer this: what’s the purpose of your picnic? Believe us when we say that your response, when filtered through your company culture, can help you crush your party plan.

Company tradition, employee appreciation, morale boost, celebrating a milestone, and team-building are all great reasons to throw a party. But throwing some potato salad on a picnic table does not say big love from the C-Suite.

A picnic themed around the year the company started can speak to tradition. Hosting your event at a stadium party room and treating employees to a Major League Baseball game cheers on great teamwork. Renting out a luxury venue says this company is celebrating success with the people who helped make it happen. Don’t bypass this opportunity to make your event truly meaningful to your attendees.

Happy multiracial families round dancing at the beach on ring around the rosy style - Multicultural happiness joy concept with mixed race people having fun outdoor at sunset - Vintage backlight filter
Whether or not you invite kids will be a key factor in all activities and foods you plan for the picnic.

STEP 2

Set your limits. Your power to throw the ideal company picnic exists at the magical intersection of budget, attendees, and timing. Identifying these three constraints will help you sift down options into a perfectly optimized Master Plan.

  • Know your budget. Where’s the money coming from (if it’s not yours, buddy up with whoever you’ll need to have expense approval from), and of course, how much do you have to work with?
  • Know who’s invited. Is this event for employees only? Employees and families? What about contractors? If your purpose is team-building, an employees-only guest list is perfectly appropriate. You need to have a good estimate on the number – and a rough guess as to the age range and activity levels – of your guests from the start.
  • Know when you want to party. Host your company picnic during a workday and you’re sure to get strong employee participation, but be sure to clear the all-hands time away with your leadership team first. Host on the weekend and you’ll run into more scheduling conflicts, but you’ll also be sending a more family-friendly/inclusive message about your event. Have a meaningful date on which you absolutely must host your picnic? Recognize that your venue options may be more limited with a rigid target date, be flexible if you can, and if you run into too many issues, use this as motivation to start planning next year’s event further out.

STEP 3

Pick a theme. Themes give your event personality and help spark the details that tie your event together. Seriously – hit on a theme that blends your company culture with your party purpose and your picnic will become legend. Anything that engages your group’s enthusiasm, from music festivals to carnivals to superheroes, can be your inspiration. Some other examples …

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If your company culture enjoys healthy competition, a sports theme would be perfect!
  • Sports. Ideal for companies whose employees are anywhere from somewhat to extremely athletic/active/competitive. Throw your event at a community park and organize tournaments for softball games, relay races, frisbee golf, volleyball, flag football, and so on – complete with team tee shirts and trophies (to back up at least a year’s worth of bragging rights). Decorate with custom team pennants and banners and serve ballpark favorites like hot dogs, French fries and caramel corn.
  • Just Cause. Ideal for companies whose employees are particularly focused on volunteering or environmental issues. Organize a group volunteer activity with a nonprofit group – something like a charity bike build-a-thon, planting a community garden, or holding a bagging session for a food bank. Use compostable flatware, plates and napkins with your meal. Decorate (yes, even if you’re holding your event in a park) with live plants that employees can take home after the event.
  • Reality TV. Say what you want about reality TV, but give employees the opportunity to “speak to the camera” and bust out their competitive skills, and see if you don’t discover hidden talents galore. The competitions with this theme are key – for survivalist and ninja warrior types, obstacle courses, scavenger hunts and challenges are awesome; or give in to the drama and have departments put together group skits, songs, or dance-off routines for the chance to be your company’s next top whatever.

STEP 4

Make the food count. With the other elements simmering nicely, we can now talk about our favorite part of the master plan: the food. Picnics totally revolve around food. Mess this up, and it will leave a bad taste in people’s mouths. So, skip the bring-your-own-stuff-to-grill routine and save yourself major headaches. Trust the food to the chefs, restaurants and caterers who live to tantalize others’ taste buds. Talk with the restaurant’s event planner/catering manager. They can handle the food delivery and should be extremely knowledgeable about safe food handling and serving temperatures. Ask if they’re open to customizing the menu to fit your theme – and listen to them when they give you advice about quantities and what will and won’t work for your picnic location and logistics.

Beef burgers ready to serve on food stall.
Let Dinova help you find the best outdoor caterer for your company picnic!

Bonus: Not only can catering professionals deliver deliciousness to thrill your attendees, they typically are also extremely well connected. Ask for recommendations on service providers and rental companies they usually work with – for everything from sound systems and tents to tables and chairs and portable toilets – anything that might not be already available through the venue.

STEP 5

Brainstorm the extras – and go for it. Don’t forget about entertainment (again – go for something that ties into your theme, whether that means a live band, deejay, emcee, fireworks or even a special “celebrity” guest). Consider arranging transportation to and from the event – particularly if it’s in a difficult area to find parking at during the workweek (think buses, not cars). Give your event a hashtag, create a logo, and take tons of pictures and video clips before, during, and after to promote it on social media (both internal and external – company picnics are a great opportunity to show off your company culture!). Recruit influencers from different departments to help get everyone excited and involved – and help each employee feel a personal connection.

There’s a lot to do, but don’t let it grind you down. Remember, the whole point of this is to throw a celebration. So go forth and execute this choose-your-own-adventure party: plan it, tweak it, do it, own it – enjoy it!

 

The Top Three Misconceptions Of The Business Diner

Dinova is focused exclusively on the business diner. These are the corporate cardholding employees who spend their company’s money while conducting official company business.  This includes their third largest expense category of dining and includes the sales from the company to our preferred restaurants within the Dinova marketplace. We’ve realized over the years, however, that not everyone knows the business diner like we do and that business dining is widely misunderstood.

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Let’s break it down: simply put, A business diner is an employee spending company money while conducting official company business. And when dining on official business, 70% of sales are from out of town business diners and 85% of that dining happens occurs mid-week when restaurants need it most. We and our restaurant partners love business diners because they aren’t price sensitive – after all, it’s not their money. This leads to a higher average sale and represents the most profitable guest a restaurant has thanks to a larger average party size combined with the higher-margin menu items they order, including desserts, appetizers and drinks. What’s more, business diners are also the team from the office ordering large catered meals and booking private dining events – both of which are highly profitable to restaurants.

We’ve explained the definition of the business diner, but what are the most common misconceptions of the business diner? Let’s break down the top three misconceptions surfaced in the Corporate Dining Survey conducted by Penton Media, Inc. in August, 2017 survey of over 400 restaurants throughout the U.S.:

Misconception #1: 86% of those surveyed responded that business dining takes place primarily at lunch time Monday through Friday.

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Eating a breakfast panini on your way to a presentation while out of town? Yep, that’s business dining!
  • Truth: When you’re traveling for work, do you only expense the fancy dinner meal, or do you expense every time you eat? Business dining takes place across all meals including breakfast, lunch, dinner, happy hour and more. Those dining out of town comprise of over two thirds of business dining and every meal they eat while traveling is a business meal using the corporate card spending company money.

Misconception #2: Restaurants know when business diners eat in their restaurants because they book a reservation, event or private dining.

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Lots of group dinners on a business trip is planned on the fly.
  • Truth: Approximately 70% of business dining is out of town.  Many are using meals to entertain clients, prospects or team members and they are very careful to remain anonymous. Many decisions on where to eat are made impromptu based upon their guest desires – they’ll ask for suggestions, see what everyone’s in the mood for and utilize Dinova’s app, web search or their own proprietary company software tool to find the perfect preferred restaurant nearby. Therefore it’s nearly impossible to know when a business diner is eating in a restaurant. This is what makes Dinova so special – we take the guesswork out for you so that you can rest assured that we’re driving traffic to your restaurant for anyone searching for business dining needs.

Misconception #3: Employees who dine in a restaurant for lunch in business attire wearing a badge are business diners.

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Nope, these people ordering food from you are probably not business diners.
  • Truth:  We’d love it if our boss bought us lunch every day, but unfortunately this isn’t the case! When employees are dining near their office for lunch with their fellow co-workers, they are usually spending their own money. A business diner is spending company money for official business needs, so these badge-donning diners are actually just consumers using their personal card. If a business diner is eating near the office for official business needs, they are likely ordering large meals for delivery, catering or private dining needs.

By having a better grasp on the true definition of a business diner, it’s much easier to understand Dinova’s value proposition for prospective restaurant owners eager to increase profits with tools beyond your traditional marketing programs. You can learn more about what we offer to our restaurant owners on our website and contact us to get access to profitable business diners and to be incorporated into the proprietary systems that Dinova unlocks for you.

Cheers to Administrative Professionals

Stop and think about your office before you continue reading this article. Who keeps everything functioning smoothly? Who keeps the office and your leadership team organized? We are sure you are thinking of your company’s administrative assistants. Administrative assistants deserve much recognition, as they are the heart of the office and help orchestrate business travel like no other. Administrative Professionals’ Day is April 25th, and as we celebrate admins on this special day, Dinova believes administrative assistants deserve to be appreciated every day.

In honor of Administrative Professionals’ Day, Dinova wanted to interview one of the best Administrative Assistant in the business. Debora Bankhead, Senior Administrative Specialist at Siemens, sat down with us to give us some insight (and some tips for fellow admins!) on her role at the company.

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Debora (Deb) Bankhead, Senior Administrative Specialist at Siemens

Q. How long have you been working as an administrative professional?

A. I’ve been in this industry for over 30 years!

Q. What advice would you have for administrative professionals in the challenges that they face every day?

A. Do the best job you can do with your resources and keep records of your development. Be pleasant and professional, yet sociable when appropriate. The better you get along with your executives and team members, the better you will enjoy your job and environment. Re-prioritize as necessary and take good notes. You are not the only one experiencing system problems or lengthy help desk calls, as it happens to everyone. Have a peer or group of team members to bounce ideas off of and learn “Best Practices”.

Q. Do you have any secret tips for ordering food?

A. Know of special food needs of guests, have a few  ”go-to caterers” (which you can add to your favorites in your Dinova app!),  change up the cuisine every now and then, and know what your guests are enjoying from your catering order. A great tip I have is to take note of what was eaten and left behind after a large order is placed, so you’ll know how to improve the order for the next time. It’s also essential to keep a small stash of bottled water for executives’ visitors.

Q. Explain a day in your life as an executive assistant. What does your average day look like?

A. Currently, I support the purchase order request and back-end process as well as budget tracking for multiple vendors with daily updates. I manage travel and expense processes for our executives, which is an extremely important aspect to the job! I support a team of up to 80 across the country, which means that at any time I may receive requests to welcome guests and interviewees, order peripherals, provide on-boarding and off-boarding item support, place catering orders, assist new employees or answer any possible question on the above or other systems and process. There really isn’t a typical day in the workplace, which keeps things exciting!

From hotels to flights to dining, administrative assistants touch every part of business travel. Today is about honoring their silent contributions, and with that, we raise a business travel glass to those in honor of Administrative Professionals’ Day.

Special thanks to Deb Bankhead for letting us interview her!

Women Who Empower: Meet Jackie Kurkjian of Potbelly

March is Women’s History Month and at Dinova, we take that seriously. From the hostess stand to the corner office, women in the US have been paving the way for the restaurant industry ever since the first recorded opening in 1765. All month long we’re going to highlight some of the women who empower us to service our restaurant and corporate partners with fervor and inspire us to drive business diners to the Dinova marketplace each and every day. In this post we’re highlighting Jackie M. Kurkjian, National Director of Catering for Potbelly Sandwich Works.

When the clock strikes noon in the office and you’re in that same meeting that you’ve been in since the early morning, food better be on its way. We at Dinova know the importance of catering services in the workplace, whether you’re ordering lunch for a group in the office or planning a private event offsite.

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Jackie M. Kurkjian is an expert in the catering field, with over 15 years of experience in the industry. As the National Director of Catering for Potbelly Sandwich Works, she is in charge of developing and growing Potbelly’s robust catering business unit and inspiring a nationwide sales team to exceed their goals. Her expertise includes strategic planning, improving efficiency of operations, directing all aspects of the sales process and developing and implementing multi-channel marketing plans. Ms. Kurkjian is highly regarded in the catering world – so much so that she was selected by The Catering Institute to serve on the Catering Council for Multi-unit Restaurant Operators in 2017.

Friends and colleagues describe Ms. Kurkjian as a true professional in every sense of the word. In her extensive career is she known not only for producing stellar results through innovative marketing strategies and showcasing new revenue streams for restaurants, but she is also a true mentor to others. She has a knack for recognizing talents within someone and challenging them to use those talents to accelerate their career.

And why do we love working with Ms. Kurkjian? “Jackie is amazing to have as a leading professional in the Dinova Marketplace!” notes Leila Willingham, Director of National and Regional Restaurant Brands for Dinova. “She really understands what a business diner is looking for when they need a catering job and she is always putting Potbelly’s name on the map for any opportunity available. Every time there’s a chance for us to serve food for a Dinova event – even if it’s just a small cookie order – Jackie is there, ready to give Dinova business. Jackie inspires me because she says ‘yes’ to every opportunity, takes time to understand the needs of a business inside and out and is an overall incredible woman, both professionally and personally.”

 

We are honored to work with Ms. Kurkjian and help drive business to Potbelly in all 450+ locations. If you want to make your next lunch really happy with Potbelly’s award winning sandwiches, find the nearest location to your work on our app or web search.

 

 

Trade Show Survival: From Breakfast to Nightcap

It’s that time of the year again – the moment where that tiny point in your life in which you relished in a somewhat easygoing schedule has been ripped away from you. Being in the office on Monday by 9 a.m. has now been replaced with getting to the airport by 5 a.m., and a quiet lunch at your desk is replaced with swallowing a granola bar while you’re running from one booth to another.

That’s right, business travelers – it’s trade show time. While trade show season can be a brilliant season for establishing long term connections, it’s also excruciatingly tiring and, if you’re not careful, can ruin any healthy eating habits you’ve acquired in the beginning of the year. But we can help you make your time from early morning to late evening as flavorful as possible with just a few adjustments to your usual trade show schedule. So, grab your forks and dig into our tips for trade show survival from breakfast to nightcap.

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First, we prep. Before we think about the morning of the trade show, let’s discuss what you should bring to your trip – and what should be left at home.

Things not to pack: Wow, those new heels are super cute. Now put them back in the closet. The last thing you’ll want to worry about as you network from one booth to another is how much your feet hurt. Keep tight-fitting designer clothes at home, too – it’s about function more than fashion in this environment. It also isn’t prudent to bring makeup that’s hard to apply. You won’t have 10 minutes to touch up your matte red liquid lip stain in the afternoon after a cup of coffee. For the men out there, keep those three piece suits at home. Not only are they uncomfortable in a busy setting, but a nice pair of slacks and button down with a blazer will do.

Things to pack: We are a big fan of the black belt and navy pants combination for men – if you’re concerned with matching your clothes, this is always a way to go. Bring shoes that are presentable but easy to walk in for eight hours at a time and business attire that is breathable and wrinkle resistant. Be prepared for extreme indoor weather changes as well – you’ll be sweating up a storm on the trade show floor and if you’re seated for a conference presentation, you’ll feel like you’re in the arctic tundra. Other essentials that we’ve always found important include band-aids, safety pins, ear plugs and hand sanitizer.

Now that we’ve covered some packing essentials, let’s dig into the basics to get you through a day of booth hopping.

Businessmen Meeting Over Breakfast In Hotel Restaurant

Breakfast time. The absolute worst thing you can do is skip breakfast the morning of a trade show, especially if you are working in one of the booths. Allot 30 minutes for a nice sit-down meal of nutritious essentials including fruits, oatmeal and proteins. Utilize the complimentary buffet at your hotel to your advantage for the whole day; prepare for the moments that you’ll feel like you’re crashing in the early and late afternoon hours and stock up on nutritional bars, almonds and a healthy muffin.

On the Floor. Your time on the trade show floor is the whole reason why you’ve made the trip, so it’s important to keep yourself fueled and energized during these prime hours. Would you go for a walk on a hiking trail for over five hours without a bottle of water? Didn’t think so. The same rule applies for a trade show – always keep a refillable bottle of water with you. Don’t rely on a complimentary water station; if you’re working at a booth, you won’t have time to visit, and if you’re roaming the room, you won’t want to lose your spot. Staying hydrated throughout the day will relax your muscles and joints and your brain will function better. Snacks are also important while you’re on the trade show floor. Remember that muffin you stashed? This will come in handy especially at 2 p.m. when you’re feeling the crash hit you, and fueling yourself with free candies from the booths will leave you feeling empty and dehydrated.

Lunchtime. During a trade show it’s more than likely that you’ll be eating in the hotel venue or convention center for lunch. Make the most out of the situation to network with prospective new clients and establish connections. When you’re choosing your foods, stick to simple and fresh fare that’s easy to eat while you chat up the people near you. Most importantly, don’t forget the business cards!

Group Of Female Friends Enjoying Meal In Restaurant

At Dinner. You’ve been trapped at the trade show all day and your dinner plans will probably involve mingling with co-workers or wining and dining clients. Under no circumstances should you default to the restaurant right there in the venue – the last thing one will want to eat is what they perceive to be more hotel food! Unless you are already familiar with your guests’ dining preferences, choose a nearby restaurant that offers fare appealing to a wide audience, such as a hip metrotainment diner. For a smaller group, you can make a great impression by seeking out a local gem! If you’re booking a cocktail hour and dinner together with multiple parties, keep both events in the same location so that it’s easy for your guests to locate. Be sure to make your reservation in advance as well – nearby restaurants fill up fast during big trade show events! You can use Dinova’s web search and app to find the most flavorful cuisines near you and book with ease.

Nighttime. It’s almost the end of the day and you’re exhausted. If you’re mingling late at night, keep it to only one or two drinks, even if it’s an open bar. Everyone has a story of that one executive on that one trip who had to be escorted into the Uber by a bouncer, and you don’t want to be that person. Stay hydrated during this time too for a better night’s sleep. Finally, don’t be afraid to call it a night earlier than others. You don’t have to close down the bar to make a good impression, and you don’t want to be too tired when you catch a flight tomorrow or hit the floor running all over again.

Do you have any trade show survival tips that we may not have covered? Mention them in the comments below, and we can’t wait to see you at your next booth!

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.”

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 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!

 Sources:

* 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/