[Editor's Notes: LanceAround gets a lot of interesting emails.
My eyebrows were raised when someone named Kristin sent an email the other day with the title DinnerDate. I got excited. Was someone trying to pick me up? Then I got nervous. What would Mrs. LanceAround think?
But, alas, it wasn't exactly what I thought it was.
It turns out Kristin is an Account Coordinator with Uproarpr.com. Their website indicates that they help promote businesses. According to Kristin's email, restaurant mogul and CEO of Planet Hollywood, Robert Earl, has launched a new dating site in Orlando called DinnerDate.com. This concept allows clients to schedule a "date" with a group of interested "daters" at a local restaurant. Normally, LanceAround does not accept unsolicited promotion requests. But this one seemed unique and worthwhile enough to let my readers know about. I also want to see if anyone has tried this service and, if so, how it worked out for them; so please leave a comment if that's you.
I took a moment to visit the DinnerDate.com website. The concept looks great, but there were several things about the website that were slightly annoying. For instance, it continually asked me if I wanted to complete a survey--even after I told it a dozen times that I never wanted to complete the survey. There were dinning venues and criteria for scheduling a date (such as "30's & 40's -Limit 6 Daters at Nick's Italian Kitchen" for a price of "$30.") But when I clicked on the purchase button, I discovered that Tax, Gratuity and a $5 Booking fee were not included and I was asked to pay $42.95. Why not just be up front about the entire price? I also searched the website for answers to questions such as, "What is included in the price?" "What are my choices of entrees, desserts, etc.?" "Is alcohol included?" "Can I opt to purchase more when I'm at the restaurant?" "Do they handle special requests such as Vegetarian or Kosher?" I believe the lack of easy access to answers to these questions will turn away some interested new daters--but these are minor corrections to their website that I'm sure they will address as they further refine their business.
In the meantime, here is Kristin's article about this new venture:]
It’s not easy to find quality people to date when your only option is scouring the bars downtown. Why not make a change for 2012? Make the New Year a new you with a new way to date.
Robert Earl, founder and CEO of Planet Hollywood, selected Orlando as the launch city of his first technology venture, DinnerDate.com. Unlike traditional dating websites, singles sign up online for prearranged group dinners of 6-12 eligible locals and meet in-person at popular Orlando restaurants. DinnerDate brings to the forefront the real-life offline connection, without the keyboards and screens, while blending with contemporary online techniques for communicating once a connection was made over dinner.
Marrying the technology of online dating services with the real-world benefits of group activities, DinnerDate helps alleviate the stress and anxiety of one-on-one dates and the safety concerns of online dating. All daters have to do is simply book a seat at the group table and come to the meal ready to enjoy good food and good conversation with other singles. Daters can also invite friends to come on the DinnerDate with them. Then, if daters connect with someone at the meal, they can return to the website to message each other and exchange details.
“The thing that people seem to like best about this concept, besides the whole law of averages, is the fact that if all else goes wrong and you don’t find a match, you still wind up having a good evening out with new interesting people,” Earl said. “And since everyone pays for themselves, there are no awkward ‘who pays’ moments.”
DinnerDate has no monthly fees. Users simply sign up for the dinner that most appeals to them and pay for their three-course meal and a small processing fee. Dinners are budget friendly and themed by age group, sexual orientation and interests, like single parents, 20s to 30s or gay. Participants view profiles and pictures of the people they will be dining with before they sign up and can send private messages after the date to reconnect and plan future dates. For more information, or to sign up, visit www.DinnerDate.com