ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Two entrepreneurs in St. Petersburg have created a new way for people get some money back every time they go out and eat at a local restaurant.
Their program is called Dinefits — a play on the word “benefits” — and it’s meant to help restaurants bring in more customers during their off-peak hours.
Jason Cline makes decadent dishes with such ease.
“There have been huge, drastic things that have really put a play on the business as a whole and has made it extremely difficult,” said Jason Cline, culinary director for Crafty Hospitality, which owns five restaurants in the Bay Area.
In a post-pandemic world, one of the main issues is bringing people not only back in for a meal but filling tables during non-traditional lunch and dinner hours.
But he says that’s all changing, thanks to John and Claudia Pallazola, who say they love eating out.
“We eat out probably way too much,” John said.
They saw what the pandemic did to so many restaurants and knew how difficult it was to run them even before COVID.
So, they came up with Dinefits.
“People are looking to save a buck where they can so I think it’s a timely situation,” Pallazola said.
It’s like a rewards program for people eating out.
According to Pallazola, you go to the website, dinefits.com, and create an account.
Put your credit card information in and when you go out to eat and the bill comes, you’re automatically getting a percentage of cash back without having to do anything else.
“They just pay with their linked credit card and they get cash back,” Pallazola said.
While that’s the benefit for customers, Pallazola says restaurants are signing on because they set the percentage of cash back and what time it’s available.
So, if they want to entice more people to visit during off-peak hours, they can use Dinefits to notify people there’s a chance to get cash back.
“It just fills tables that are normally slow,” Pallazola said.
So far, they have a handful of restaurants in St. Pete sign on, all of them locally owned.
Pallazola says Dinefits does take a 10 percent cut of the revenue from these cash back promotions.
Back in the kitchen, Cline says this feels like a win-win for restaurants and customers.
“Basically, getting paid to eat so it’s nice,” said Cline.
He says it’s nice that restaurants have the chance to reel in potential customers when they aren’t as busy to get a taste of what he and his staff have to offer.
The website officially went live back on April 3 and Pallazola says they’ll continue to reach out to local restaurants to see if they want to be a part of the program too.
He says the maximum cash back a restaurant can allow is up to 50 percent.