New restaurant buying site aimed at protecting restaurant brands

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 10.33.35 AMA former recruiter for group buying sites such as Groupon and Living Social has decided to  tackle the business himself, launching an online-buying and search engine website catering for the restaurant industry.

Fork&Spoon co-founder Neil Dundon told Mumbrella the site is not a group-buying site.

“Technically speaking a group buying site you have to have a number of people to purchase. So straight off the bat, that rules us out,” he said.

“The whole point of our site is to differentiate ourselves, and the deals on our site are heavily curated. They’re very much a curated experience, that’s actually what we are. We brand ourselves as a company different to Groupon and Living Social, we don’t want to be lumped in the same bracket as that,” Dundon explained.

Dunon said the site aims to protect restaurant brands.

“It’s a double edged sword, they need to go on the likes of Groupon because they need the cash-flow coming in because they need to pay the rent. But they also know its got a huge damaging effect on their brand, the minute they feature on a group buying site is the minute they’ve decided to give up their brand to an extent,” Dundon said.

“So we decided we’d come out with that and we’d only target the restaurant industry, we specifically wanted to protect restaurant brands.”

The site, which describes itself as a “premium dining experience website”, only covers mid-to-high end restaurants, and doesn’t ask participating restaurants to have dramatic discounts that are unsustainable.

“We’re also about maintaining a certain standard, so we only have decent restaurants up there, generally they’re chef hatted and award winning,” Dundon said.

“We don’t ask restaurants to discount by 50 per cent, we say discount by 20 per cent, something that is manageable for you.”

Fork&Spoon has signed off on corporate deals with some of the major banks including NAB and ANZ for the site to be part of the bank’s internal staff purchasing programs.

“We are trying to attract a customer with a higher disposable income,” he said.

The site is gearing up to launch in Brisbane and Canberra with a number of restaurant partners signed up already.

Dundon said: “Hopefully we’ll get those two markets launched before Christmas.”

Fork&Spoon was co-founded by Dundon, who manages the sites marketing and corporate partnerships; along with the site’s digital director, Scott Smith and the sales director, Zeb Jaffer.

The site currently employs five offshore developers.


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