Dinova LLC, a platform exclusively focused on connecting expense account diners to quality restaurants nationwide, reported Wednesday that business spending in restaurants increased 7.1 percent in 2015, with a 4.5 percent growth in transactions and average check values up 3.75 percent over 2014. Business guests were clearly critical to driving industry-wide sales to positive territory, as overall US restaurant sales grew only 1.6 percent in the same period, according to TDn2K Black Box Intelligence.
Dinova had a milestone year in 2015, as the addition of numerous companies to the network helped Dinova surpass $4 billion in dining spend influence. Dinova signed notable restaurant chains and a broad array of local independents to the network, offering businesses a wide range of unique choices for business travelers, private dining and events, and catering options in cities all across the country.
“Dinova’s marketplace is thriving, and continues to drive double digit, profitable growth for us every year,” says Dinova founder and CEO Vic Macchio. With that growth, Dinova expects to nearly double its staff in the next 18 months. The company hired two prominent executives to its management team in 2015, enhancing the digital marketing and technology operations targeted at driving more engagement from all parties in the Dinova marketplace.
Mark Hooper, hired as chief technology officer, leads Dinova’s technology team, focusing on extending and scaling the company’s technology capabilities to support Dinova’s exponential business growth. A veteran travel industry executive, Hooper has 26 years of experience leading IT teams and technological innovation for American Airlines, Sabre Holdings, Travelocity, GetThere, and GroundLink. He also served as Senior Vice President of System Engineering and Architecture at Iron Mountain.
Rhonda Hills, hired as chief marketing officer, joined Dinova to build and lead the company’s marketing organization, focusing on building the Dinova brand, driving awareness and engagement to Dinova’s proprietary marketplace, and stimulating revenue growth for the company. After 20 years of driving demand and user engagement for Internet and digital businesses, Hills is well versed in positioning and scaling innovative and disruptive businesses. Previously, Hills served in executive leadership roles at BLiNQ Media, Sears Holdings, Cox Enterprises, and AOL.
“We are thrilled to bring seasoned executives like Mark and Rhonda into our organization. The investments we are making in technology, marketing and experienced people will keep the momentum going in 2016,” adds Macchio. “All the indicators point to a substantial year of growth, both for Dinova and the business dining segment we uniquely serve.”
The storyline of business dining buttressing overall restaurant growth flows through fourth quarter figures as well as yearlong metrics. Industry-wide restaurant sales rose only 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter. In comparison, fourth quarter business dining was up 7.4 percent over 2014.
Holiday meals and entertainment spending by companies was vital for the industry in December, boosting revenues amid reduced transient traffic. Companies spent 6.6 percent more in U.S. restaurants than in 2014, with the average check up 4.8 percent. This contrasts to restaurant statistics shared by TDn2K Black Box Intelligence, reporting that the industry’s overall sales were up only 0.6 percent as traffic actually decreased by 2.1 percent over December 2014 figures.
“With $4 billion dollars under management, we are now at the scale to see unique trends and patterns specific to our business dining segment,” Macchio says. “With consumer traffic lagging, these trends clearly tell a tale of business dining driving more traffic and profits for restaurants participating in the Dinova marketplace. I see blue skies ahead for restaurants that understand the unquestionable value business diners bring, and how to leverage Dinova as the channel to access them.”