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Logo Spot DiningSpotDining is the meeting platform between diners (let’s not call them consumers, since they build and share business) and restaurants for accessing special offers in real-time or simply booking, now in testing in the San Francisco area. SpotDining is starting a test here in Italy in the ancient Praeneste area, Palestrina, Cave, Zagarolo, Colonna and the surroundings.

But is Spotdining special, compared to other services.

There’s plenty of couponing on the internet. Groupon, Groupalia, Getbazza and others are services in which users (many together, as the prefix ”group” indicate) purchase a product or service in advance at discounted prices, resulting in a sample coupons that can be spent when they want to (or better when they can to!). The problem with the coupon is linked to its intimate nature:

  • paid in advance
  • mass product
  • with a deadline

The non- simultaneity between experiencing the product/service and payment gives rise to a number of inefficiencies (“For me was a terrible experience. I bought a coupons for pizza dinner, I found having to eat at noon, without any possibility of refund. I then Contacted their support center, they only responded with prepackaged (copy and paste) phrases“, to name one at random) that can lead to nullify the advantages or producing negative aura over the service even if the negative cases are less than the physiological portion of a very popular service as couponing (always from the same source I have consulted this site because I had intentions to purchase from [omitted ] and I must say the deals are very attractive. So I read almost all comments. I could say that for a successful comment, two are a failure [omitted] I’m the one who do all purchases from the internet : clothing, travel and many other products. When I purchase from a new site I always dig in the reviews so I can be sure by satisfactions and complains and be safe over the buying. If there are so many negative comments, people have actually being damaged; thanks to their negative experiences so many people can avoid to suffer such negative experience. And [omitted] has too many negative comments so I can’t afford to throw in the wind even 20 Euros“).

Diner by David Shankbone

Diner by David Shankbone

Spotdining is not a couponing site, since the diner does not pay in advance the service, but only pay a token to access to (book) a special offer. Alright! But then it’s like those sites that give access to discount codes! Discount codes are the digital equivalent of coupons that you cut out from the newspapers. They are text strings, passwords you enter in the spaces of shopping carts and online retailers allow you to save on purchases, reducing the amount of the total charged, eliminating the free shipping promotion or applying another. The problem of discount codes and that these do not apply well to the world of food not being standardized product (as in the case of products from a supermarket) and could not be managed in real time and on a limited number of services.

Spotdining is not a discount codes site, but leaves the restaurants (and diner) to build real-time bidding. For example, imagine that at 21.30 on Wednesday at the restaurant “Bay Lights” a beautiful and fresh sea bass (fished in the morning) for 4 people is available. The chef deems unfair to frozen it for the next days. Thinking of selling it before closing with either  a coupon or a discount codes is fairly impossible, but with Spotdining it is possible. The restaurant puts on an offer and surely will be booked by a diner nearby who can take advantage of this unrepeatable offer.

The relationship between the restaurant and diners that does not exist in the traditional couponing (what counts is the discount), in spotdining is enhanced, since it is the restaurant who build it directly with the diner, facilitated by the offer, but due to its traditional values and unique features. Even spotdining builds a stable relationship with diners, because spotdining offers is selected locally through local partners. As a matter of fact, the development of Spotdining offer is built by several local partners (always small local service companies) that select and help restaurants to benefit from their presence on the Spotdining platform.

The key Spotdining innovation is in its business model. Spotdining is a platform. It not only ties restaurants and diners in a marketplace (as economists say), but allows diners to build the offering through indicating the restaurants they would like Spotdining affiliate. Spotdining is not a restaurant review site (and never it will be), since there are already excellent services, such as Yelp that are an asset for it. Spotdining then uses the strength of the crowd, the diners in defining and selecting product offered: people have more power because they get what they want from each other, bypassing the inefficient institutions.

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