CFO World

TheFork plates up new website and app for local diners

Online restaurant reservation platform joins global platform and the site's new CMO shares its forward plans

Online restaurant reservation platform, TheFork, which is part of the TripAdvisor group, has joined one of the world’s largest networks for online restaurant bookings and, at the same time, introduced a new mobile app and loyalty program, Yums. 

The second phase of its migration to TheFork, after rebranding from Dimmi in January, has been to move the Australian-based platform to the TheFork internationally to become one of the world’s largest networks for booking a restaurant online. 

TheFork users will now be able to consult over 16 million verified reviews across the large community of  diners, with discounts and special offers across the 17 countries, and choose from a selection of popular restaurants in each country.

TheFork's new Australian head of marketing, James Walmsley, elaborated on the program and the site’s wider marketing plans with CMO. Now with each reservation made on TheFork, Australian diners will receive points towards discounts at participating restaurants. Walmsley said the decision to have a new program.

“The Yums loyalty program has been set up to thank and add value to our best customers. It offers tangible advantages to making a reservation with TheFork, encouraging diners to make regular reservations and offering additional visibility to the restaurants that are participating in the program,” said Walmsley.

“It exists in all the countries where TheFork is present. So for diners who love travelling, they can use Yums during their visits to 16 other TheFork countries.” 

Walmsley said working closely with TheFork globally allows the local team to pivot its offering based on the global learnings as well as local insights.

“For example, our brand research in Australia showed us that being able to earn loyalty points was a key driver for people to make online bookings. In terms of the Yums program, recent data from TheFork in France, Spain and Italy, compares visits and bookings before vs after a restaurant has enrolled in the Yums program. The results show a significantly positive impact of the Yums loyalty program in these markets,”  he said.

In 2020, the site will continue to focus on the customer experience and continue to build on the list of restaurants and special offers. Walmsley sees some challenges in this competitive market.

“It's no secret that it's been a hard year for the restaurant industry, and TheFork has had to continue to adapt our own offering so that we can best support the restaurants we work with," he said. "And with high spend across the digital reservation category, but also across food delivery services, we focus on offering the best service to diners to encourage support of the restaurant industry and to lead Australians to the best fit for them each time they want to dine out.”

Finally, being part of a new global platform brings a new global audience for Australian restaurants and Walmsley sees it as a two-way benefit. 

“It will also give Australian diners access to restaurants across 16 other countries, where they can consult 17 million reviews to ensure they discover their best fit.”

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