With an extensive database of restaurants, hotels, lounges and all-things-gastronomic, Dine.TO provides a quick, elegant online experience for all who wish to enjoy the culinary and cultural diversity that makes Toronto great. Here is an interview with the owners. Interview With Restaurant Portal, Dine.TO’s Owners
Telly and Stratos are originally from Montreal, and Zoltan is a Toronto native. They have a strong background in both the restaurant industry and the world of the internet. Work experience in web design and hospitality has given them a step up in the restaurant guide and review market. Their site has gone on to become much more than the restaurant guide it started as. Today most of its business is generated through the software and websites they create for clients.
How has the website changed since you first launched it?
“We started it as a restaurant guide for the public, and it wasn’t originally meant to a business.” However, the site’s success went on to make us more like a software company building marketing tools and software solutions for restaurants and the hospitality industry. While the guide remains one part of the business, the more significant part is the software development offered to restaurants.
There is no unnecessary clutter or “information overload”, which can be found on other sites. We also have a firm understanding of the power of editorial content and a firm grasp of modern culture combined to provide content unique in both look and depth.
Software created by the team includes a next-gen VIP calling card that uses a tablet to take down information from clients about their experiences. This data can be seen over time to compare performance.
How has Dine.TO been so successful in Toronto and done better than its competitors?
There is not one thing that leads to the success of the site. Just the robust technology we have created to help restaurants market themselves is something that nobody does. We have encompassed all the things that other sites do, and then some. Each competitor website has its niche, but we have brought together everything that all these different sites can do. We also house info from sub-sites we make on Dine TO, so we have all the menus plus each restaurant’s photos. Quality content and good, non-biased reviews also ensure that people come back to read. We work with the best food critics and editors so our readers can trust our content. We also send out a newsletter every week so our readers can find out about the new hot restaurant that has opened.
How is a restaurant chosen for a review?
The writer chooses the restaurant. The most crucial factor is that it must be new; we don’t review restaurants that have remained open for years. Our readers look forward to new and fresh content and want to stay updated about the latest restaurant in town. The opinion of the writer decides the review’s content.
Are you opening in other cities?
We are already in Barrie, Mississauga, and other locations in Ontario. We have been in Montreal for the past few years and in Edmonton for the past seven years. Their goal this year is to go to Vancouver, Calgary, and other prominent Canadian cities. Once that is done, then it will be to go down south.
How do you plan your tours and videos?
We use our in house photographers and videographers; we also have an entire fleet of programmers.
Do you organize or sponsor any events?
Sponsoring food-related and restaurant-driven events have allowed us to get more involved with the community and helped us stay in touch with restaurants we work with while opening the doors to those we don’t work with yet.
Your home base is Toronto, what is your favourite thing about working in Toronto?
The diversity, we have worked with many restaurants of many cuisines and ethnicities. This makes work more exciting and fun. We left Montreal because it was economically better to come to Toronto. Toronto is a world-class city for young entrepreneurs and is a very vibrant and energetic place.
What are your future projects?
We have many exciting projects lined up. We will soon launch our version of Open Table and compete with them in the reservation world. We are also launching Digital menu boxes that are touch screen and will also bring out a direct mail magazine.