Case Study

Case Study: DINEAmerica Members Save Plenty Every Time They Dine Out

In the early-1990s, Peoria, Illionois-based businessman and frequent restaurant visitor, Mark Schlitt began thinking about ways to improve the current diner discounts that were available in the area. Schliltt was familiar with several frequent diner programs but was not satisfied with their benefits. The programs either didn't offer significant savings or there were major drawbacks to using the program. For example, the savings may be only applicable to a specific number of patrons in the dining party; or the discounts were limited to dinner only. Schlitt realized that frequent-dining consumers wanted a discount membership that offered coupon-like savings without the one-time use limitations of coupons.

Schliltt took these complaints and concerns to heart, and in 1996, he founded DINEAmerica to help frequent restaurant goers "Save Plenty Every Time You Dine Out," which is the company's slogan. "I wanted to create the type of discount dining organization that provided the advantages that the other programs lacked, and I wanted it to be the type of club I would want to join," said Schlitt.

Today DINEAmerica provides approximatley 8,000 central Illinois residents with discount dining benefits at more than 300 popular and critically-acclaimed restaurants in Peoria, East Peoria, Bloomington, Champaign, and surrounding areas.

For an annual membership of $49.95 or $34.95 for six months, restaurant goers can choose from all types of local area eateries and save 20 percent off their final bill every time they visit a participating establishment. The discounts apply to members dining alone or in groups of up to six people and are valid for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Five hotels have joined the DINEAmerica family, offering members special get away packages that include significant savings on lodging, hotel restaurants, and tourist attractions. All DINEAmerica restaurants are listed in a handy directory providing information on each establishment including sample menus, etc.

Experiencing tremendous growth since its inception, DINEAmerica has expanded from just 27 Peoria area listings in 1996 to more than 250 today and it's still adding to the list. As a result, Schlitt has continually evaluated his business' processes and procedures and sought ways to improve membership service, recruit more restaurants and hotels, and build the number of members.

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