In today’s MarTech conversation, we chat with Giuseppe Uslenghi, the co-founder of Dinabite, a B2B marketing integration tool for restaurants and online food stores.
Uslenghi explains his plans for the company, the problem with using certain channels for marketing, and his thoughts on the future of marketing in the food industry.
Tell us about Dinabite
We started in 2015 when my co-founder Nick got in touch with me with the idea of a consumer app where people could find restaurant specials nearby. So, we ran a pilot in Italy. We integrated Groupon for specials, Quandoo for reservations, Delivery Hero for deliveries. We also launched a UK version with a pilot in London.
And then we realized by speaking with restaurant owners that we were not really addressing the key problem that restaurants had with marketing, which was integration. And so we decided to pivot to become an integrator to make it much easier to integrate all the other tools into a simple interface and to use artificial intelligence to help to automate the marketing process.
The idea of Dinabite is to give restaurants and online food delivery stores a very simple interface that uses a variety of basic marketing techniques like social media, special offers, reservations, promotions, and so on. Eventually, it will automate these basic marketing processes.
So, we’ve unpublished our old apps and we are now in the fundraising stage in order to develop our new MVP.
What do you do in your day-to-day work at Dinabite?
To be honest, I do a bit of everything at the moment.
On the team—in addition to Nick, our co-founder, who is very knowledgeable about artificial intelligence—we have two people who are very focused on our markets. Celine is marketing, marketing, marketing. And Ryan is hospitality, food, food, food. He was the managing director for the Jamie Oliver restaurant chain in the UK. In total, we have a group of seven talented and driven individuals, so a big aspect of our plan has been building a very strong team so that we can actually build an MVP that reflects the needs of the market.
What are some of your goals at Dinabite?
We plan to start revenue generation by the end of this year, early next year. As soon as we’ve released a pilot, we hope to start another period of fundraising and use that to develop the central features like artificial intelligence and the payment module so that we can actually start generating revenue.
We have some targets in our business plan. We aim to be cashflow positive by the end of 2023. And we also want to be able to recruit. Our plan is to expand in the UK and US initially, as we have a base in the US already. So, we know the market a bit. And then we want to expand internationally.
By 2024, we have a target of integrating 40 marketing tools and have at least 7,000 restaurants paying for our service.
We are also using competition metrics where we’ve mapped out our competitors in the marketing integration space and the food space.
What are some of your challenges?
Before our pivot, we typically targeted restaurants through Facebook, Google campaigns, social media campaigns—and they are very labor-intensive. We are a small company.
And these marketing tools get more complicated every day. My personal perception is that instead of becoming simpler, marketing tools get more complicated every day. LinkedIn used to be extremely simple for promotions. Now, even LinkedIn is inventing complications.
We did a lot of marketing before our pivot when we were B2C. We used a lot of Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. And some of them didn’t even have a way to monitor results and ROI. When we were using Snapchat, I would say the reports we got were totally irrelevant to us. And we were using the tool just because it was very popular, so we thought we could reach our target audience with that.
What has been most effective and why?
Well, when we start marketing our tool again, I think we really have to be selective. But of course, choosing tools and channels takes a lot of trial and error. Also, we are looking at partnerships. So we want to partner with some integrators in the social media space.
What new trends are you noticing?
The number of players is growing exponentially in the MarTech space. And everyone has a good idea. This is a reflection of the overcomplication of marketing tools, as I was discussing before.
Most of the players are very much focused on a single space. For example, when we look at our space in the US, we have companies like Bikky, which is just a CRM, or there’s BentoBox, which is fairly big, but they’re mainly focused on website design.
Every day, there is a new app or company, particularly in the restaurant space or online ordering space. COVID certainly accelerated the trend because everything is going online, and has been online for quite a while in the food space.
What I do foresee is that a lot of M&A companies are going to be consolidated in order to be able to leverage markets and combine services to add a broader portfolio of services.
How does content marketing fit into your strategy?
I think content marketing is very important and I think it's going to keep growing. I think it’s a matter of finding cost-effective ways of proposing and delivering. I think the challenge is there. But there is a lot of space because content is what is driving marketing—creating good content.
Looking back at our first experience, we ran a lot of videos and graphics of restaurant dishes and stuff like that. That was extremely effective, but it was a lot of work. So, being able to do some of your content creation remotely is always a positive for us.
It’s hard to say which types of content will be most effective for us going forward. With our previous USP, it was all about video and Instagram.
It will be pretty different when we move to B2B. We’ll probably rely more on testimonials and success stories.
With content, there are two dimensions. Firstly, the marketing that we have to do for ourselves, and secondly, effective ways of helping our clients create content—because it’s part of our tool. Initially, we're going to use existing content, but ultimately, it's something that will be critical to success.