The Top 3 Misconceptions of The Business Diner

Business diners lead to higher average sales and represent the most profitable guest a restaurant has.

Dinova is focused exclusively on the business diner. These are the corporate cardholding employees who spend their company’s money while conducting official company business. This includes their third largest expense category of dining and includes the sales from the company to our preferred restaurants within the Dinova marketplace. We’ve realized over the years, however, that not everyone knows the business diner like we do and that business dining is widely misunderstood.

Let’s break it down: simply put, A business diner is an employee spending company money while conducting official company business. And when dining on official business, 70 percent of sales are from out of town business diners and 85 percent of that dining happens occurs mid-week when restaurants need it most. We and our restaurant partners love business diners because they aren’t price sensitive—after all, it’s not their money. This leads to a higher average sale and represents the most profitable guest a restaurant has thanks to a larger average party size combined with the higher-margin menu items they order, including desserts, appetizers and drinks. What’s more, business diners are also the team from the office ordering large catered meals and booking private dining events—both of which are highly profitable to restaurants.

We’ve explained the definition of the business diner, but what are the most common misconceptions of the business diner? Let’s break down the top three misconceptions surfaced in the Corporate Dining Survey conducted by Penton Media, Inc. in August, 2017 survey of over 400 restaurants throughout the U.S.:


Eating a breakfast panini on your way to a presentation while out of town? Yep, that’s business dining!

Misconception #1: Business dining takes place primarily at lunch time Monday through Friday.

Truth: When you’re traveling for work, do you only expense the fancy dinner meal, or do you expense every time you eat? Business dining takes place across all meals including breakfast, lunch, dinner, happy hour and more. Those dining out of town comprise of over two thirds of business dining and every meal they eat while traveling is a business meal using the corporate card spending company money.


Lots of group dinners on a business trip is planned on the fly.

Misconception #2: Restaurants know when business diners eat in their restaurants because they book a reservation, event or private dining.

Truth: Approximately 70 percent of business dining is out of town.  Many are using meals to entertain clients, prospects or team members and they are very careful to remain anonymous. Many decisions on where to eat are made impromptu based upon their guest desires—they’ll ask for suggestions, see what everyone’s in the mood for and utilize Dinova’s app, web search or their own proprietary company software tool to find the perfect preferred restaurant nearby. Therefore it’s nearly impossible to know when a business diner is eating in a restaurant. This is what makes Dinova so special—we take the guesswork out for you so that you can rest assured that we’re driving traffic to your restaurant for anyone searching for business dining needs.


Nope, these people ordering food from you are probably not business diners.

Misconception #3: Employees who dine in a restaurant for lunch in business attire wearing a badge are business diners.

Truth: We’d love it if our boss bought us lunch every day, but unfortunately this isn’t the case! When employees are dining near their office for lunch with their fellow co-workers, they are usually spending their own money. A business diner is spending company money for official business needs, so these badge-donning diners are actually just consumers using their personal card. If a business diner is eating near the office for official business needs, they are likely ordering large meals for delivery, catering or private dining needs.

By having a better grasp on the true definition of a business diner, it’s much easier to understand Dinova’s value proposition for prospective restaurant owners eager to increase profits with tools beyond your traditional marketing programs. You can learn more about what we offer to our restaurant owners on our website and contact us to get access to profitable business diners and to be incorporated into the proprietary systems that Dinova unlocks for you. 

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