Sponsored by Bookatable
Dine Catering was founded in 1998 by Daniel Gill with the aim of bringing high-end event catering to the north of England. The business, which is based in Leeds, now operates at 205 client catering facilities in the business and industry sector across the UK, with an annual turnover of £35m.
With customer expectations evolving, Gill recognised that the business had to evolve too. Clients were demanding ever-greater convenience, and increasingly that meant ordering online, so he and the Dine team came up with Dine Delivered. Not just a straight- forward delivery service, Dine Delivered offers a component-led, online hospitality platform featuring patent-pending technology that dynamically suggests menus and food options for the customer.
The technology means that clients can generate a menu online using the system and then take delivery of their food, packaged and prepared in a manner that means it is ready to go out of the box, with little or no cooking. Users can also add services, such as staff, glassware, drinks – and even personalised birthday cakes – simply by using the system.
This makes specifying all the ingredients for a successful event straightforward for the client as well as the business as it can deliver high-end event food that doesn’t automatically require the added expense of a full team, either for the planning stages or the delivery.
The website, featuring the firm’s own ‘MenuMind’ technology, is a complex, dynamic platform that will process 16,500 pieces of data per transaction, ensuring all dietary requirements and every detail that a customer would need about the menus are available. The menus have all been created by the chefs at Dine, and the company has also designed bespoke packaging for the dishes.
Everything is prepared on-site in Leeds, and orders are delivered nationwide through a partnership with DPD, which has significantly extended the scope of the business. In addition, Dine says that the overall product is remarkably cost effective – and that it can deliver a better experience at a comparable cost to supermarkets.
The technology and its set-up was a considerable investment, but having opened up the business to a whole new consumer market, it has prompted some ambitious growth targets – figures it would be tough to bet against the business achieving.
Meanwhile, the aim is to scale up Dine Delivered again through a future partnership with a national online retailer such as Ocado, so the future is looking bright for the business and its online delivery arm.
What the judges said
“Not only is the business model unique but the execution has been handled well. The website just works. The user experience is clean, leaving the client in full control. I’m excited to see how this business progresses.”
“I’m impressed by the way a local business has been able to become a national one through clever use of technology. Being comparatively small, the business has capitalised on its size by being dynamic and quickly developing a great website.”
“This is great innovation in a challenging market and a local provider going national with sound insight and investment. It’s use of technology of the highest order.”
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Carl Weldon Chief operating officer – Europe, Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals