Metrics show that when most businesspeople travel, they want to consume local culture. A recent study conducted by Dinova and the Global Business Travel Association reveals that 63 percent of corporate road warriors research their dining options before leaving on a business trip, with 77 percent saying they prefer to “eat like a local.” And that’s just traveling business diners—local professionals help round out what has become a $77 billion industry in the U.S.
Business dining can bolster sales, especially during the weekday lunch and happy hour dayparts. Appealing to this demographic can also help establish brand loyalty among both local business diners and traveling business diners who frequent a given market.
Carolina Ale House, a 29-unit sports restaurant and pub that traditionally sees peak traffic during weekends and late nights, recently committed to solving the issue of the slower time windows when games weren’t on television. The brand prides itself on elevated food offerings and felt it had something to offer beyond screens.
Tyler Kaune, guest relations representative with Carolina Ale House, says grassroots marketing campaigns and local advertising worked to some degree, but units still had empty seats during lunch and the early evening. They partnered with Dinova, a business dining network that specializes in connecting corporate credit card-carrying diners with preferred restaurant partners.
“Dinova-driven sales are incremental, meaning we don’t pay anything unless they drive sales for us,” Kaune says. “Growth in monthly sales, however, is already increasing 30-40 percent each month so far.”
Leveraging local offerings to traveling business diners can be a great way to create a memorable experience.
“The fact that we offer a variety of draft beer allows travelers to sample local favorites not available outside of that area,” Kaune says. There are ways to offer traveling diners the comfort of home, too. “We also have tons of TVs so that travelers can keep up with all of their favorite teams while on the road.”
Whereas updating a home page or website with things that change day-to-day can be time consuming, Dinova is set up to amplify operators’ ability to communicate events and promotions to business diners in the area – giving them a dedicated channel for reaching this specific audience.
Getting guests in the door during lunch and happy hour has implications beyond those dayparts, too. Remember, not all business diners are travelers, and if they are travelers, they might come to town often.
“Lunch and happy hour traffic is very important to our restaurants,” Kaune says. “By driving business traveler traffic to our stores, we also increase the likelihood of the guest being interested in catering or private parties through us.”
With no initial start-up cost commitment, Dinova seemed worth a try to Kaune and Carolina Ale House. They’ve been impressed with Dinova’s partnership and commitment to growing the Carolina Ale House brand.
“One of the things that has stood out most is that Dinova’s customer service is top-notch,” Kaune says. “They are very responsive and always looking out for extra opportunities for us to strengthen and increase our brand awareness to new business travelers."
For more information on how to draw business diners into your restaurant, visit the Dinova website.