Join Us

The Mission of Dine Originals Columbus is to celebrate, support and promote locally owned and operated independent restaurants by providing unique dining experiences for its patrons and collaborative cost savings and marketing services for its members.

You know the restaurant business is tough. It is a competitive battle for patrons, for recognition, and for purchasing power. No one knows this better than our owner/operated independent restaurants and no one appreciates and relishes the rewards more than we do. We are vested in every way and our daily commitment is to create a rewarding and personal dining experience for every guest every time.

Instead of competing with each other, we collaborate for ventures we could not afford to do alone. We participate in grass roots and main stream advertising, joint charitable and community events, and group purchasing. We provide discounted gift certificates as an illustration of appreciation to our guests. We provide joint benefits for our staffs. As of August 2009, we are 40 members strong our sense of camaraderie is remarkable.

The Dine Originals Columbus organization started with a very small group in the Spring of 2003. Convincing colleagues that the organization had value required persuasion, and we grew slowly to 17 members by 2006. In the last five years our membership numbers have increased to 50, and the pace of applications being submitted grows more brisk each quarter.

The Board recently took time to consider the implications of growth and to revisit the membership goals. We believe we are approaching an ideal number of members, and have committed to slowing the growth and managing any increase with real care. We seek to balance the diversity of members (considering cuisine, geography, ethnic offerings, and style of service) while maintaining a roster of signature establishments.

Our vision is to nurture the vibrant local independent dining community through collaboration, stewardship, innovation, diversity and quality.

We have determined that to serve our members to the best of our ability, to communicate our message clearly to the marketplace, and to protect the high standards the Dine Originals brand has come to stand for, we will have to say “not just now” on occasion to new applicants. We don’t do this out of a sense of exclusivity, but rather with a passion for staying true to our roots. Should we not be able to add a business to the organization right away, please know that you will not lack for a community of champions…we will still wish you continued success and will consider you a valued colleague in our very tough, but rewarding, field.

We thank you for your interest in Dine Original Columbus and would be pleased to consider your application for membership.

Our Membership Committee and Board consider applications throughout the year, but we officially update the roster twice a year ~ in January and July (this helps us keep our printed materials accurate and up to date).

The following information is for your review and completion. Please fax the completed application to (614) 228-7445. If you have any questions, please contact Katharine Moore at (614) 228-7441.

Click to download the application

Click to download the application

Organizational Goals

  • Maintain Vibrant Membership Roster
  • Increase Collaborative Marketing & Advertising Opportunities
  • Website Enrichment, Social media subscriber growth
  • Increase Involvement of member restaurants
  • Create “Buying Power” – products, services, etc.

Current Activities

  • The sale of quarterly gift certificates is how members pay their membership dues. These funds help cover the marketing and operations expenses of the organization.
  • Annual Taste of Dine Originals event in collaboration with The Buckeye Ranch
  • Twice a year (March and November) Dine Originals Week
  • Annual Experience Columbus Days promotion in collaboration with Experience Columbus

Membership Requirements

  • Locally owned and operated
  • In most instances we select restaurants that have been open for 2 years ~ it is very difficult to open a new     restaurant and be fully engaged in our organization all in the first eighteen months.
  • 6 restaurants or less in the Columbus area
  • Quality Driven with a reputation that will compliment the Dine Originals brand
  • Voted by Board of Trustees for acceptance into DOC
  • Agree to sell gift certificates online through the DOC website and accept said gift certificates at restaurant
  • Provide DOC with necessary information for the DOC website and update this information as requested
  • Promotion of DOC in-house through display of official DOC posters, cards, etc., and use of the DOC logo on menus, website, and other appropriate materials
  • Participate in various community and chapter activities including fundraisers, chapter meetings, service activities, etc.

Participate in grass roots marketing efforts with festivals, etc.

  • Host a chapter meeting or executive meeting at your restaurant
  • Participate in chapter decision making process through attendance of meeting and/or email correspondence
  • Allow Board of Trustees power to execute decisions and actions with the well being of the entire organization in mind
  • Participate in staff discount program

Dues Payment

Each quarter Dine Originals Columbus posts $750 worth of gift certificates from each member restaurant at a 30% discount for sale on the DOC Website. The funds raised through the sales are retained by the organization for marketing and operations. Our members honor the gift certificates issued for their restaurant when they are redeemed.

It is the member’s obligation to help market the gift certificate sales. Social media, website notices, newsletter promotions, check enclosures etc may be utilized. Should your restaurant’s inventory of gift certificates not sell in full, you will be invoiced for the balance due. The dues are calculated on the cash value of the certificates ($525 per quarter at the 30% off face value). To renew annual memberships, any balance for membership dues must be paid in full.

When a new member joins the organization, they are required to pay one quarter, $525.00, in advance. This payment will be held in escrow and will be refunded at the conclusion of year one, should all gift certificates be sold. As you can see on the majority of our members sell all gift certificates within a week (in some cases, day) of release. The key to success is promoting the sale to your customer base.