DINR: Same Day Reservations App
Last minute diners with a distinct dislike for calling anyone, at any given time, rejoice! There is an app for you, and it’s called “DINR”, the same day reservations app designed specifically for Canadians.
Available for iOS and Android, DINR is a free Montreal-based app that shows you which of their restaurant partners have space available for you and your friends that evening. Montrealers Kyle Marshall Nares, co-owner of Garde Manger and Le Bremner, and Bryan Mahoney, head developer of digital design studio Dynamo, created the app to fulfill two purposes: 1) to give locals a way to make reservations at Montreal’s best-known restaurants without having to plan weeks in advance; and 2) to help restaurants fill empty seats that occur when existing reservations are cancelled.
They are currently partnered with 26 restaurants in Montreal, five in Quebec City, 18 in Toronto, seven in Ottawa, five in Calgary and 11 in Vancouver. They will, hopefully, continue to expand into more restaurants and cities across Canada.
All DINR restaurant partners are curated to ensure they are the “best”; in fact, several of the Montreal partner restaurants have notoriously long wait lists (Joe Beef, for example, had a two week wait list for a two-person table, with limited time options). A DINR app user can set a notification for Joe Beef (or any other restaurant in the list) and they will know the moment a table becomes available.
Once you’ve downloaded it, you have a list of restaurants in your city (or whichever city you chose from the drop-down list at the top of the screen). Making a reservation is straightforward, taking about four or five taps. Setting notifications is also simple – a tap on the bell icon on the restaurant’s “page” and you’re ready to play the waiting game. All of the reservations are same-day; so if your favourite restaurant finally has a table free but you already have plans, it might be a bit of a disappointment.
A hiccup, for me anyway, was that you must give them your credit card information in order to make a reservation or set a notification. While reservations are free to make, they authorize your card for $1 to guarantee your reservation (I believe it’s refunded after the reservation is filled) and charge a $30 per person no-show fee. This applies for both if your whole party fails to make the reservation, and if any single person missing – so, if you reserve for five people, but only three show up, you are charge $60.
The part of me that hates additional fees balks at this, but the other part of me – the one that has worked in the restaurant biz before – understands the logic behind this. A group cancellation is hard on business; doubly so if the reservation you get to fill the original cancellation also turns out to be no-shows. In order for restaurants to be comfortable partnering with DINR, they would have to provide some form of accountability. This format also allows DINR to market their users as “the world’s most accountable diners looking for last minute tables,” as it states on their partners page, while also ensuring that restaurants honour the reservations made through the DINR app.
Overall, the app is pretty easy to use and, while it does come with a seemingly hefty fee, I can’t see anyone forgetting to show up to a reservation they made, probably an hour earlier. Since I am one of those people who loves a night on the town but absolutely abhors calling to make a reservation, this one gets five stars from me!