Dinova LLC reported recently that overall restaurant spending by its corporate clients grew 5.2 percent year-over-year in the first quarter of 2014, helping restaurants endure a challenging period as weather issues negatively impacted consumer dining. Founder and CEO Vic Macchio expects this trend to continue and strengthen throughout 2014, resulting in a strong year for the corporate dining sector of the restaurant industry.
The Global Business Travel Association recently revised its annual forecast upward, projecting U.S. business travel spending to rise 7.1 percent in 2014 to $293.3 billion. Dinova sees all restaurant categories gaining from this growth, from quick-service outlets serving employees and call centers to fine-dining venues catering to higher-end client and prospect events. The average check across all restaurant categories from Dinova clients increased 2.7 percent in the first quarter, up to $52.86.
Corporate dining showed a dramatic increase in March as many regions rebounded from the ice and snow of January and February. Transaction volume driven from Dinova clients grew 6.7 percent over March 2013 figures, with sales increasing 8.6 percent. In contrast, transient same-store sales, as noted by the NRN-MillerPulse Report, grew only 1.8 percent in March.
“These figures clearly demonstrate the value of corporate dining, as businesses fought through bad weather and continued to entertain clients and prospects,” said Macchio. “The trend from 2013 – with corporate travelers dining out more often, and spending more when they do – continued throughout the first quarter and is strengthening as the second quarter unfolds.”
Macchio bases his forecast on the corporate dining expenditures of Dinova’s corporate clients, who spend more than $1.5 billion on catering and dining annually. Dinova’s nationwide network includes more than 10,000 independent and chain restaurants, encompassing all price levels and cuisines.
More than a dozen large corporations joined the Dinova network in the first quarter, cumulatively representing more than $115 million in annual dining spend. The firm’s corporate clientele includes one-quarter of America’s highest-travel-spending corporations. Dinova also added dozens of small and mid-size companies to its client roster, as the company’s unique rebate model gains momentum with corporations putting more sales and account management staff on the road.
Dinova continued to enhance its presence in the restaurant community in the first quarter, most notably by joining the James Beard Foundation. The Foundation focuses on celebrating America’s culinary heritage and orchestrates a wide range of educational initiatives, award programs, and an annual food conference. The annualJames Beard Foundation Awards – better known as the Oscars of the food industry – just took place earlier this month in New York City. Beyond the good works of the Foundation, the historic James Beard House in New York’s Greenwich Village offers Dinova’s corporate clients a unique private dining opportunity for outings with clients and larger group scenarios. The James Beard House hosts a broad array of visiting chefs to prepare creative meals and serve up a restaurant experience unlike any other in New York.
Dinova LLC (www.dinova.com) connects restaurants and corporations in a nationwide network, driving valuable business dining to restaurants and enabling corporations to reduce travel and entertainment expenses. Automation makes the process seamless to both diner and restaurateur, with no loyalty cards or key entries required. Dinova is headquartered in Johns Creek, GA, a suburb of Atlanta.