Image: Founders of Dineplan Martin Rose and Greg Whitfield.

CAPE TOWN - A reservation software company Dineplan, has officially launched a free mobile app for diners that will allow users to search available tables and instantly book at more than 1000 restaurants countrywide.

Additionally, users can explore restaurants by availability, name and area or find nearby restaurants with available tables based on their current location. 

The app allows diners to see the following information on restaurants:

1.  Ratings,

2.  Cuisines on offer, 

3. Price range,

4. Open times and 

5. The attributes of each eatery to help them pick and book the perfect place.

Once an instant booking is made on the app, the user immediately receives an SMS and email confirming the details of their booking.

On the day of the booking, they will receive a reminder SMS asking them to reply ‘Confirm’ or ‘Cancel’ to automatically update the status of their booking.

Dineplan founders Martin Rose and Greg Whitfield,  have been friends since school, started the reservation software company in Cape Town in 2011 after they agreed that there was a need for an app give diners the satisfaction of making a quick and successful reservation. 

They started developing back-end software for restaurants to use as their electronic reservation book, which would later enable instant bookings to diners.

According to Dineplan,  more than 20 000 bookings are made across the South African Dineplan network every day, with 30% of these made online.

‘The app allows us to make this information available to the public in a very convenient manner, allowing them to search this availability and make an instant booking at any of these restaurants', said Martin Rose in a statement. 

‘We have been developing the Dineplan software and selling it to restaurants for seven years,’ said Rose.

While Dineplan initially started with top-tier fine dining establishments as clients, the fast-growing company now caters for restaurants of all types and sizes.

‘Dineplan has evolved a lot over the years and continues to do so,’ said Rose.

In an interview the Co-founder Greg Whitfield, he explained that he and his partner self-funded their own business. 

"We did our best to self-fund our own business and not bring in an investor. Martin is a developer, so he did all the development such as the coding work and I did all the business management in the sales work and we remained just the two of us initially until we started making revenue and grew with that as a business group". 

"Luckily, we were both at a stage in our lives where we could live quite cheaply, live with family and get by without a salary for the first couple of years and we manged to push through that so no external funding was needed", said Whitfield. 

Available for Android and iOS users, the app is free of charge says Whitfield. 

"The app itself is free of charge for downloads for diners and restaurants, We don't directly earn anything from the app. we earn our revenue from restaurants subscribing to our Dineplan software", Whitfield said. 

When asked if there was a need for the app in the market, Whitfield said yes. 

‘I think the app will make a significant impact in the SA market. There is no other app or website in the country that can offer this service,’ said Whitfield.

‘We have made the software extremely diverse and completely customisable to suit any restaurant client. We now have all types of restaurants using Dineplan, from the number one in the country, The Test Kitchen, to Spurs and everything in between.’

When asked about the future for Dineplan, Whitfield explained they plan to take over the SA market. 

"We hope to sign up up every restaurant in SA and we have a lot of ideas regarding additional functionality that we would like to add to the app over the next few years to make it more convenient"

"More long-term goals are that we would like to increase our international footprint, currently we do have international restaurants using our software but we are focused on the SA market and owning it", said Whitfield. 


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