Dineout Scores A Social Media Win With Its Open Letter To Zomato

Dineout, India's first table reservation service tells Zomato who's the first in this space, in a cheekily-toned open letter on Twitter. Zomato finds it cute

In a highly competitive space, false claims by competitors are something one has to live with. Leading news sites and startup covering sites hardly investigate the dubious claims made by aggressive startups in their company press releases. We know how it hurts when a competitor who starts up almost a year later than you, suddenly claims to be the pioneer when talking to the press. Well, we did nothing about it, but here’s a startup that did, and how!

Dineout is India’s first table reservation service founded in 2012. It was acquired by TimesCity, Times Internet’s restaurant listing service in April 2014. The company was fine with EazyDiner claiming to be India’s first online table reservation platform in a story on Business Wire this August. EazyDiner was founded in 2014 by Vir Sanghvi along with a group of hoteliers and restaurateurs.

But things went a bit far when Zomato – the restaurant review site that recently entered the space of table bookings with Zomato Book – also made the same claim in a story at Indian Express. “With reservations coming soon, we want to ensure that we are the first in the market,” Deepinder Goyal, CEO and co-founder Zomato told IE yesterday 15th September.

In response, Dineout sent an open letter to Zomato in a tweet today. Beginning with a congratulation, it proved with pure logic of founding dates that Dineout was already the first in India.

“While it might not be ambitious for you to want to be the first in the market with Table Reservations – it is definitely wrong to assume that just by saying so, it will be true,” the open letter reasoned with Zomato.

With “You guys have built something fantastic, and we applaud the perseverance of the entire team at Zomato. It takes immense passion and dedication to do this,” Dineout welcomed Zomato to the world of Table Reservations!

The open letter ends cheerfully with a word of advice, “It has taken you a little longer than us – but let’s expand the market together”.

Zomato came up with a rather feeble clarification, but the tone was cheeky.

Dineout wasn’t in the mood to buy that.

Meanwhile, the two CEOs - Satyan Gajwani of Times Internet and Deepinder Goyal of Zomato also got into a not-so-friendly exchange on Twitter. Check out the replies below the tweet.

Dineout has everything captured neatly in a video story too!

Dineout’s approach on social media has been an impressive one. Tackling a bragging competitor isn’t an easy job, without coming across as a cry-baby brand. Dineout played it really well here, especially in its choice of words and tone of communication.

This reminds me of Amazon’s mature response, when an Amazon delivery box was spotted at a Flipkart office in a viral picture on Reddit some time ago. Flipkart explained that its receptionist used the Amazon box as a dustbin. But, Amazon won hearts with this graceful response - “There’s a bit of Amazon in every ecommerce company”.

In the social media age, brands are what they tweet. Do share your views if you agree or disagree on this.