Stop Listening to Yelp About Where to Eat and Follow the Chefs Thanks to This NYC Startup



Are you sick of making your dining decisions based on a random Yelp comment? The only reason we use Yelp in the first place is because we don’t have a professional to tell us where to eat! Well now we do. With the new app DINE, you get Tasting Table’s curated restaurant recommendations and analysis from real chefs and experts about where to eat on any given night. With Tasting Table traveling chefs you know you’ll be eating well.

Senior Product Manager, Rohit Gupta tells AlleyWatch how we can become that friend who always has a hidden gem of a restaurant to go to.

Tell us about the product or service.

Simply put, DINE makes it easy to find the perfect restaurant anytime, anywhere.  With dining at the forefront of most outings, knowing where to eat is now an invaluable aspect of one’s social capital. But finding the right dining destination can be a painful chore. The Internet has multiplied the number of restaurant recommendations and ratings available; but accessing that information is time consuming and often overwhelming. DINE has addressed this need by creating the first truly curated, multi-source restaurant finder.

How is it different?

DINE by Tasting Table makes it easier for busy food lovers to stay connected to the fast-moving restaurant world and find the perfect restaurant in their city. No one needs another restaurant review; what people need — and what DINE provides — is a powerful tool to help them scan multiple verified sources (local and national publications, critics and culinary websites) and quickly choose the best place to eat.

What market are you attacking and how big is it?

The restaurant market is growing in unique ways as millennials’ eating habits are changing the dynamics of the industry. 53% of the millennials goes out to eat once a week, compared with 43% for the general population. 87% of millennials say they’re willing to splurge on a nice meal out, and are spending more on average per meal than others. Earlier this year, sales at restaurants and bars overtook spending at grocery stores for the first time ever.


Rohit Gupta

What is the business model?

Tasting Table is an award-winning digital media company for a new generation of food and drink enthusiasts. We deliver our expert editorial, lush photography and original video across web, email, social, experiential and now on-the-go with our native app. DINE allows us to connect with our users and partners in new ways by expanding our services and coverage and being on all the platforms our community is using everyday. We are now able to create unique content and campaigns around restaurants and dining on a local level that our community and partners are seeking.

What inspired the business?

DINE has brought local restaurant recommendations to the eight cities most populated by Tasting Table’s 7 million person foodie community. While Tasting Table has excelled in producing engaging, beautiful editorial for web, email newsletters and social channels, we had not provided our audience with a native mobile app that makes it easy to carry the Tasting Table sensibility around in your pocket.  When Tasting Table acquired the app, we redesigned and rebuilt it with daily-updated content, including a feed of the latest restaurant openings, closings and news. This means Tasting Table is now the essential source for both national/global food trends as well as bespoke local restaurant recommendations.

Do you worry about more established players focused on this market like Yelp and Open Table?

We don’t, they are fundamentally going after a different user. OpenTable is a reservations platform and Yelp is great if you’re interested in looking for user-generated reviews. We’ve seen that our users are looking for one destination that would aggregate verified sources for their restaurant recommendations. Rather than searching across the web for the major critical reviews or best of lists, you can easily scan them in one place and make a decision.

What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?

We aim to continue to add features that build on making DINE your go to restaurant app, for both recommendations and restaurant news.

Why did you launch in New York?

New York is clearly one of the largest markets for dining out. We also have deep connections within the restaurant scene in New York, which made it easier to launch here.

What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?

This changes seasonally, but one of my current favorites is called Desnuda in the East Village. The ceviche has some of the best flavors I’ve ever had — and who doesn’t love sitting down to a bowl of truffle oil popcorn as soon as you walk in?

About the author: AlleyWatch

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