Living in Australia, it is hard not to be tempted by the sheer volume of great restaurants to go to and eat at.
That said, there is nothing more disheartening than deciding on a place where you can go and grab a dinner with friends only to find out that the idea on whim of eating out is dashed by the restaurant not having a table available.
Even the hassle of having to wait for a restaurant to answer the phone, only to find out they don’t have a table available could also well be the thing of the past.
One of my favourite mobile apps living and working in San Francisco is OpenTable. It offers subscribers online real-time restaurant-reservation service. Reservations are free to end users and the company charges restaurants monthly and per-reservation fees for their use of the system. It has since expanded to cover 25,000 restaurants in most U.S. states as well as in several major international cities.
With no Open Table service in Australia it was not going to be long before a local innovative company started a restaurant booking service.
Introducing Dimmi, designed to bring diners and restaurants together.
Dimmi, has been up and running since September 2009 and already has partnerships with more than 2,500 Australian restaurants, and has seated more than 2.5 million diners since starting. While it trails OpenTable’s 325 million diners since 1998, it is off to a very strong start and currently has 30 employees.
With this type of up take and growth it was no surprise that the venture capital arm of Telstra has decided to make an investment in the Australian company. While the financial terms of the deal can not be undisclosed, it’s a cornerstone shareholding in the business along side Village Roadshow as a foundation investor.
Dimmi CEO and founder Stevan Premutico said the Telstra-Village deal is as much about strategic expertise and distribution as it is about capital, but insists Dimmi will continue to operate as a separate entity.
“It’s really important for us to continue to operate as a small, fast, nimble business, and we continue to operate as Dimmi,” he says.
“We will just have additional ammunition supplied through new distribution channels and new partnership opportunities powered by Telstra and Village.
Dimmi’s chairman is Macquarie Group division director Glen Butler while nonexecutive directors include Google’s Asia Pacific Director of Mobile William Easton, LinkedIn Managing Director of Australia and New Zealand Cliff Rosenberg and now Group Managing Director of Telstra Applications and Ventures Deena Shiff.
Dimmi is real-time using a state-of-the art Electronic Reservation System which allows users to conveniently make instant reservations 24/7. When booking with Dimmi a user connects directly into the restaurants Electronic Reservation System to check real-time availability.
In the event that the restaurant is full, the appication automatically offer you the next best available time. The booking is immediately recorded in the restaurants Reservation System and you receive an instant Booking Confirmation by e-mail. And because Dimmi knows you live a busy life, 24 hours prior to the meal the service will send users a reminder by e-mail. Its that simple, just like booking a hotel or an airline.
Dimmi works off a performance-based revenue model – restaurants pay between $1 and $3 per customer, or $6.60 a table, in exchange for using the Dimmi platform.