Restaurant books made simple with a new app

IB Times | Photo by Vasudevan Sridharan
IB Times | Photo by Vasudevan Sridharan

Dineplan has launched South Africa’s first instant booking platform for restaurants. It is an innovative app that enables patrons to now browse and instantly make restaurant reservations according to customer ratings, specific cuisines, availability, name, area or even by current location.

The team behind Dineplan wanted to make it easy to secure and manage a restaurant booking on-the-go, so it included a broad list of features and functionality.

The Dineplan app allows users to conduct location-based searches, create lists of their favourite restaurants, browse customer ratings and even research different cuisines on offer. Diners can also check a restaurant’s operating hours and even share reservation information with fellow diners including Google Map locations.

Dineplan partnered with Bluegrass Digital, a creative technology company with over 20 years of international web development experience, to develop this app. It used the latest mobile development technology called React Native to build a native app that uses the same code for deployment on iOS as well as on Android devices without compromising functionality and performance.

Bluegrass Digital managing director Nick Durrant says the collaboration with Dineplan was the company’s fourth completed project using React Native. “This technology stack is quickly becoming our preferred approach over Swift, Java Android, Xamarin or Cordova built mobile apps.”

According to Greg Whitfield, a director at Dineplan, Bluegrass was the standout choice for the project because of its previous experience using React Native. “This was a big draw card for the Dineplan team.”

“We wanted to create an app that was simple for the general public to use to find and instantly book a table at any one of the 1 000 South African-based restaurants currently using Dineplan,” he explains.

Dineplan not only offers a platform for restaurant patrons, it also has a reservation solution that makes it easier for restaurant owners to manage bookings. When a restaurant combines this reservation management software with the app, guests can view a restaurant’s availability in real-time and make bookings that are confirmed immediately.

“Having always been a B2B company, the idea behind bringing out the mobile app for public use was to test the B2C waters by creating something specifically for consumers,” says Whitfield.

“We started with their objectives and a blank canvas. We worked closely in carrying out a UX and prototype phase of work to quickly scope the MVP to launch into the market. Design followed, then development sprints. Our teams worked well together and we used a very agile methodology to developing the app,” adds Durrant.

“Bluegrass really helped us realise our ideas – while adding a few of their own – throughout the entire design and development phases,” Whitfield concludes.

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