Stevan Premutico, DimmiThree years ago Dimmi founder Stevan Premutico would mention his company to people at barbecues or dinner parties and get a blank look in return. Now they know.

That’s because, like millions of others, they’re probably using it to book and review restaurants across Australia.

Mr Premutico, who is speaking at TRAVELtech, says Dimmi is now seating 1,000,000 diners across 2500 Australian restaurants each month.

Dimmi also hit the headlines in May when it was bought by TripAdvisor.

It’s one of many acquisitions the US travel giant has made in the restaurant booking/review sector, which is hot right now.

The Priceline Group – owner of and – has also targeted the space.

It bought US market leader Open Table and recently snapped up one of Dimmi’s major rival AS Digital, which owns ResPAK.

Both companies see huge opportunities to aggregate restaurant bookings and reviews.

Just like accommodation.

No surprise then to learn that Mr Premutico has a strong hotel background, working as a senior marketer for Hilton in Australia and later Europe, where he was a regional marketing director

But when his boss in Paris effectively said “love your work Stevan, you have a great future but don’t expect to change anything” he knew it was time to leave.

“I thought about what to do for a year,”he said.

Restaurants were the obvious choice with primitive technology and no centralised booking platforms.

In 2007, when Dimmi started, the restaurant industry was like the accommodation sector industry 10 years earlier.

“The first step was to build a platform and put it into restaurants around the country,” he said.

It was slow, hard work – then it clicked.

“What we found was it took a long time to build the foundations – get the right restaurants, the right team – but then something flipped (and) we reached a tipping point last May or June.”

There were many factors but he said the switch to a mobile responsive website had the biggest impact.

“Around 60% of our traffic is now mobile.”

Mr Premutico sees major growth ahead,  estimating that 85% of restaurants are still taking bookings by phone only.

Contrast this with restaurants signed to Dimmi, which are doing more than 40% of their reservations online.

For that they’ll pay Dimmi $1 per diner – at 1,000,000 diners a month, that adds up.

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