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.

Danny 2

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.

Danny 3

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

New Dinova Restaurants: June 1, 2018.

Twice a month at Dinova, we take a moment to celebrate all of the restaurants across the US who have joined our marketplace. If any of these new restaurants fulfill your taste buds, plan your next business dining experience there through our Dinova search.  Here are the new members to the Dinova team as of June 1:

Arooga_s Grille House & Sports Bar

 

Additional Location for Arooga’s Grille House & Sports Bar

 

 

 

Big Mama_s & Papa_s Pizzeria

 

Big Mama’s & Papa’s Pizzeria in Burbank, California

 

 

 

Delia_s Mediterranean Grill & Brick Oven Pizza

 

Two Locations for Delia’s Mediterranean Grill & Brick Oven Pizza

 

 

 

 

 

Diamond of Hamilton

 

 

Diamond’s of Hamilton in Hamilton, New Jersey

 

 

Diamond_s of Pennington

 

Diamond’s of Pennington in Pennington, New Jersey

 

 

 

Doc B_s Fresh Kitchen

 

Additional Location for Doc B’s Fresh Kitchen

 

 

 

East Hampton Sandwich Co

 

Additional Location for East Hampton Sandwich Co.

 

 

 

El Rincon Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Bar

 

El Rincon Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Bar in Carrollton, Texas

 

 

 

Greek Islands Cuisine

 

Greek Islands Cuisine  in Irvine, California

 

 

Hale & Hearty Soups

 

 

25 Locations for Hale & Hearty Soups

 

 

 

 

il Villaggio

 

 

Il Villaggio in Carlstadt, New Jersey

 

 

 

Inakayany

 

Inakaya in New York, NY

 

 

Segovia Meson

 

 

Segovia Meson in Carlstadt, New Jersey

 

 

Sergovia Restaurant

 

 

Segovia Restaurant in Moonachie, New Jersey

 

 

 

 

 

Segovia Steakhouse & Seafood

 

Segovia Steakhouse & Seafood in Little Ferry, New Jersey

 

 

 

Six Feet Under Pub & Fish House

 

Six Feet Under Pub & Fish House in Atlanta, GA

 

 

 

Skorpios

 

 

Skorpios in Miami,  Florida

 

 

 

 

Sports Grill

 

 

Four Locations for Sports Grill 

 

 

 

 

The Halal Guys

 

 

Five Locations for The Halal Guys

 

 

 

Zen Foods

 

 

ZEN Foods in Sun Valley, California

 

 

 

 

Prep Before Your Vacation for a Stress-Free Comeback

Beach bum. Outdoor adventurer. Culture queen. Festival fanatic. Culinary tourist. Whatever your vacation persona may be, your goal is most likely the same as everyone else’s: to leave your job behind and lose yourself in another world for a few blissful days with amazing food, friends and family.

Ideally, you’ll come back refreshed to a job where you are recognized for your brilliance by coworkers who are eagerly awaiting your return – not because things are running off the rails, but because you’re da bomb. This is totally possible. You just have to think (in the vocabulary of those employed by The Walt Disney Company) like a ‘cast member’ and focus on two things: the task at hand and the follow up to that task.

Project manager using Gantt chart, tasks planning and scheduling, computer

If you’re not familiar, Disney incorporates the “three o’clock parade” idea into its customer service training. It’s predicated on the idea that cast members will no doubt be asked every day “What time is the three o’clock parade?”

Rather than simply feeding guests the obvious answer, cast members are trained to think beyond the basic information and anticipate follow-up questions, enabling them to provide a richer response, layered with insider details that enhance the guest experience.  When asked, cast members confirm the three o’clock start time, but then  add on “extras” — sharing the best time to line up for the parade, recommending a prime spot for viewing the entertainment, and maybe some other tidbit, like which dining venues can get them in and out in time for the start of the parade.

By taking this three o’clock parade approach into the corporate setting, you can prep three critical entities for your vacation, and you’ll not only increase your chances of truly leaving your office cares behind and unplugging for awhile, but you’ll also be setting yourself up for a less stressful return to business.

Three O’Clock Parade Entity 1: Your Boss

As soon as you have your vacation dates approved, start looking ahead at your major tasks or projects for that timeframe. Note all of the details – deadlines, deliverables, resources, dependencies, collaborators, etc. – in a document or spreadsheet to help you flesh out the full body of work you need to account for. Then working backward from the last day or two at the office before your vacation, lay out your plan for what you can realistically accomplish before you leave, what can be rescheduled for after your return, and what you’ll need to have coverage for while you’re gone.

Business investors discussing business matters sitting at table in office.

If you’re working on any time-sensitive projects, be sure to email a copy of your plan to your boss. Or better yet, take the initiative to schedule a coffee or breakfast meeting with them to sit down and go over your plan. Be prepared to address their top concern – namely, how will your absence impact this project – but then also be prepared with the answers to whatever next two questions naturally follow from that concern.

Three O’Clock Parade Entity 2: Your Back-up

The next person you need to prep is your back-up. Your back-up has his own job that he’s not going to just drop while you’re off having fun, so be clear about what you really need him to do. This can be done over a nice business lunch. Lay out all of the details on important projects, and provide access to the resources he’ll need in order to be prepared to act in your stead. Share that insider-level of information you’re keeping in your head so you’re not leaving him in the lurch.  Your back-up will appreciate it, and have everything he needs to respond to requests while you’re away.

Three O’Clock Parade Entity 3: Yourself

When you’re making sure you’ve taken care of what everyone else needs from you before you leave, don’t forget about what you can do to help yourself. Start by blocking off the last two hours the last day and the first two hours when you return for yourself. With those timeslots blocked, you’ve made time to deal with out of office reminders for email and voicemail, and can take care of any last-minute tasks that pop up.

Businesswoman typing corporate e-mail using laptop at office des

Set clear expectations about whether or not you’ll be reachable while you’re away, and, if you are reachable, by cell phone or email only? Under what circumstances? You might also leave a note on white board with your vacation dates, and send a team email or leave a printout of resources on your desk that you anticipate might curb those emergency “what’s our social media login” types of interruptions.

Create a new document on your computer, and dump all of your work worries, everything that’s on your mind, into it. Then shut it and leave it behind, knowing it’ll all be there when you get back.

And your last task: schedule a team lunch or happy hour for when you return so you can catch up, share stories, and recognize individuals for their work while you were gone.

 

Cool Summer Food Trends

It’s summer at last!  Don’t wait until you’re home on the weekend to celebrate the season.  If you find yourself on the road for business, fight the urge to order room service and go live it up.  Since it is such a short season, don’t bypass the opportunity for a seasonal experience because you’re away from home and perhaps traveling alone.  Make it a trip to remember by checking out the local food scene and indulging in the amazing cuisines that showcase the abundance of peak seasonal produce.

Bidwell
Bidwell

If your travels bring you to our nation’s capital, venture out to Union Market.  After you’ve perused the goods that 40 local artisans have on display, have a seat on the patio at Bidwell.  Much of the produce at this Michelin Bib Gourmand-listed restaurant is grown on their aeroponic rooftop, the definition of hyper-local food.  What could be more refreshing than a lemonade infused with basil and cucumber that was grown on site?  Sounds perfect with one of Chef Mooney’s lobster taco appetizers!

joy district dirnks
Joy District

“Handcrafted” and “modern” are defining terms on the beverage scene this summer.  Instead of classic soft drinks, bartenders are mixing it up by infusing sparkling soda with hibiscus or berries.  At the Kingside in Manhattan you can enjoy a rooftop experience while sipping on a lavender Collins or a Midtown Spritz, a vodka cocktail with elderflower, prosecco and mint.  If you don’t have an early meeting, Joy District in Chicago offers unique cocktails with a dance party rooftop experience!

Screenshot (2)
Table & Main

Take a stroll down Canton Street in Roswell, Ga., where you will find a variety of al fresco dining options.  Osteria Mattone offers a patio setting where you can dine underneath the large trees strung with white lights. The patio at Table & Main features a beautiful stone fireplace.  If you’re in the mood for seafood, The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill is just a few steps away with plenty of patio seating.  If you’re able to venture outside the city, The Farmhouse at Serenbe is one of Atlanta’s original farm-to-table restaurants.  The chefs reimagine the menu each month with a focus on local seasonal ingredients, much of what is harvested from their own gardens.

Embrace every opportunity to enjoy the season, it won’t last long!

Author: Janice McEachen

New Dinova Restaurants: May 15, 2018.

Twice a month at Dinova, we take a moment to celebrate all of the restaurants across the US who have joined our marketplace. If any of these new restaurants fulfill your taste buds, plan your next business dining experience there through our Dinova search.  Here are the new members to the Dinova team as of May 15:

 

Ace Cafe Orlando

 

 

Ace Cafe Orlando in Orlando, Florida

 

 

 

 

Al Fresco's

 

 

Al Fresco’s  in Flemington, New Jersey

 

 

 

Broadway Pizza & Grill

 

Broadway Pizza & Grill in Long Beach, California

 

 

 

 

Cafeteria

 

 

 

Cafeteria in New York, New York

 

 

 

 

Camber

 

 

2 Locations of Camber

 

Flight Club

 

 

 

 

 

Flight Club in Chicago, Illinois

 

 

Grille No. 43

 

 

Grille No. 43 in Lake Bluff, Illinois

 

 

 

Marche Bacchus

 

 

 

Marche Bacchus in Las Vegas, Nevada

 

 

 

MidiCi Neapolitan Pizza

 

3 Locations of MidiCi Neapolitan Pizza

Mr G's Bistro

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr G’s Bistro in Newport Beach, California

 

 

 

 

Naveen's Cuisine

 

 

Naveen’s Cuisine  in Chicago, Illinois

 

 

 

 

Rosettis Catering

 

Rosetti’s Catering in Long Beach, California

 

 

 

 

SkinnyFATS

 

 

 

4 Locations for SkinnyFATS

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sol Mexican Cantina

 

 

Sol Mexican Cantina in Branchburg, New Jersey

 

 

 

The District by Hannah An

 

 

The District by Hannah An in Los Angeles, California

 

 

 

Tony Roma's

 

 

2 Locations for Tony Roma’s

Via Brasil Steakhouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

Via Brasil Steakhouse in Las Vegas, Nevada

 

 

 

Su Casa Mexican Cuisine

 

 

Yucca De Lac in Palo Alto, California.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Motherhood & The Working Woman

Let’s be honest, motherhood is one giant, fast moving roller coaster full of twists and turns.  One minute you’re riding high on the fact that your little one only woke up twice in the middle of the night while the next minute you’re literally on the floor wiping up the spilled bottle of breast milk you worked so hard on the night before.  Flipping thru social media, you can easily get the ‘this is easy’ vibe from other new moms.  They often will share pictures that should be on the cover of Parenting, a note that their amazing bundle of joy just slept for nine hours straight at the age of three weeks, and other rainbows and butterflies moments. While motherhood creates its fair share of rainbow experiences, it can also deal out an equal amount of unforeseen stress. The most important thing to know – all new moms are going through it with you.

For working moms, returning to work isn’t a cake walk either.  Whether this is your first baby or your fourth (God bless you), getting back into the working world means adjusting your vocabulary to adult conversations, waking up extra early for routine showers, and saying goodbye to those cozy sweatpants…at least during the week.  Figuring out a way to successfully multi-task work and home life is no easy feat, but here are some tips on how to make the transition back to work a tad bit easier.

Balancing a new business and a new baby

1. Plan the night before.

You may not be able to control the traffic that morning or if your toddler decides to have a full-blown meltdown while brushing his teeth, but you can carve out just a little bit of time the night before in order to plan ahead for the next day.  (This is done mainly to avoid having a meltdown of your own.)  Yes, you will be tired but setting aside 10 minutes after the kid(s) go down to review logistics for the next day is key to having a successful morning.  With clothes already laid out and bottles prepared the night before, you will be saving yourself both time and stress from having to rush around the house in full panic mode your first day back.

2. Say yes to attending work dinners.

Repeat after me, “I will not feel guilty about spending time away from my kid(s).”  Taking time for yourself means stepping away from the responsibilities at home and enjoying a night out.  Plus, it’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy that nice glass of wine while reconnecting with your fellow colleagues and business partners.

3. Get back to traveling for business only when you’re ready.

Yes, your clients and colleagues missed you while you were on maternity leave, but they should also understand if you’re not 100 percent ready to pack your bags and visit them as soon as you return from leave.  Take advantage of scheduling virtual meetings to re-engage with your clients and peers.  It’s important not only to you but to your family to make sure everyone is comfortable with you reclaiming your road warrior status.

4. Focus on your comfort, not pride when it comes to wardrobe.

Invest in good concealer and quit worrying about when your pre-maternity clothes will fit again.  The name of the game is comfort.  Your body took nine months to grow a human so don’t be surprised when it doesn’t automatically bounce back to pre-baby weight six weeks after giving birth.  (Only Gisele does that – sigh)

iStock-514777729.jpg

5. Start back midweek – if you can.

The first week back is always exhausting.  While it’s great to catch up with colleagues and share baby pictures once back in the office, your body is probably still running on little to no sleep – meaning you aren’t performing at your max.  Try starting back on either a Wednesday or Thursday if you can.  The perks are that you’re that much closer to the weekend and you can use the weekend to reflect on what to tweak before your first full week back.

 

Most importantly, give yourself a break.  Juggling motherhood is tough but the skill-sets you learn through your ability to multi-task will only benefit you in the long run. Stay strong, mama! Keep smiling and remember to take lots of pictures.  The days are long but the years are short.  Enjoy!

 

New Dinova Restaurants: May 1, 2018.

Twice a month at Dinova, we take a moment to celebrate all of the restaurants across the US who have joined our marketplace. If any of these new restaurants fulfill your taste buds, plan your next business dining experience there through our Dinova search.  Here are the new members to the Dinova team as of May 1:

 

 

Flancer's

 

 

 

2 Locations for Flancer’s.

 

 

 

 

Four Forks

 

 

Four Forks/Madcap’s in Duluth, Georgia.

 

 

 

Fushimi

 

 

 

 

4 Locations for Fushimi.

 

 

 

 

 

Grimaldis Pizzeria

 

 

 

44 Locations for Grimaldi’s Pizzeria

 

 

 

Ike‪'s Love and Sandwhiches

 

 

 

30 Locations for Ike’s Love and Sandwiches

 

 

 

Junoon

 

 

Junoon in New York City, New York.

 

 

 

 

 

Martin's Tavern

 

 

Martin’s Tavern in Washington, D.C.

 

 

 

 

Metro Diner

 

 

3 Additional Locations for Metro Diner.

 

 

 

 

Passariello's Pizzeria & Italian Kitchen

 

1 Additional  Location for Passariello’s Pizzeria & Italian Kitchen.

 

 

Pizzeria Uno Due

 

Pizzeria Due in Chicago, Illinois.

 

 

 

 

 

Pizzeria Uno

 

 

 

Pizzeria Uno in Chicago, Illinois.

Reel Seafood

 

 

 

 

 

Reel Seafood in Woodstock, Georgia.

 

Someburros Mexican Restaurant

 

 

 

 

 

8 Locations for Someburros Mexican Restaurant .

 

 

 

Spanish Village

 

 

Spanish Village Restaurant in Houston, California.

 

 

 

 

Su Casa Mexican Cuisine

 

 

Su Casa Mexican Cuisine in Chicago, Illinois.

 

 

 

Takami Sushi & Robata Restaurant-Elevate Lounge

 

 

Takami Sushi & Robata Restaurant/Elevate Lounge in Los Angeles, California.

 

 

 

 

 

Taps Fish House4 & Brewery

 

 

3 Locations for Taps Fish House & Brewery.

 

 

 

 

 

Uno Due Go

 

 

Uno Due Go in Boston, Massachusetts.

 

 

 

Uno Pizzeria & Grill

 

 

85 Locations for Uno Pizzeria & Grill.

 

 

 

Veggie Grill

 

 

2 Additional Locations for Veggie Grill.

 

 

 

 Which Wich

 

 

2 Additional Locations for Which Wich Superior Sandwiches.

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.

Newks.jpg

“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.

Phone

“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.

dining

“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 …

Young woman playing baseball with cap glove and ball
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.

BusinessDining_2.jpg

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.

iStock-863839838.png
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.

iStock-673873170.png
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.

iStock-936370260.png
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.