SmartDiner aims to hit 1,000-restaurant mark

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THE founder of restaurant booking website SmartDiner is seeking investment via the Government’s new Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) to help it achieve its plans to increase the number of participating restaurants from 150 to 1,000 by the end of the year.

SmartDiner offers time-related discounts to consumers in the restaurant and pubs market, enabling the establishments to attract diners at quieter times. Leeds-based Stanley Wootliff, who established the business last year, is applying for a grant from SEIS, which went live on April 6.

It offers 50 per cent income tax relief on investments of up to £100,000 (up to a maximum cumulative investment in one firm of £150,000) in the scheme, regardless of investors’ marginal rate. In the first year, taxpayers can roll any chargeable gain in the tax year into a SEIS with a full capital gains tax exemption.

Mr Wootliff said: “SmartDiner is a pioneering and patented, new, dynamic pricing internet restaurant reservation system. There is no reason why diners who are happy to eat at quieter times should be paying premium prices. Dynamic pricing makes a lot of sense. It encourages diners to eat at quieter times, enables restaurants to spread their capacity usage in both the kitchen and seating area generating extra profits that can be shared with early and late diners by way of incentive discounts. It works well for Ryanair so why not for restaurants?”

Most of the participating restaurants are currently based in Yorkshire, but Mr Wootliff hopes to expand the website’s reach. It is adding around 40 new restaurants per month.

He said: “To date over three thousand diners have eaten out via a SmartDiner booking. However, we are just scratching the surface of the 27,000 restaurant and 57,000 pub sector, and the 111 million consumer meals eaten out of home weekly in the UK.”

The business employs two people in software and sales and outsources its accountancy and public relations.

It also has six self-employed sales agents. Turnover for the year to the end of January 31, 2012, was around £6,000, said Mr Wootliff, who expects it to reach £100,000 this year.