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Like Expedia or Uber for Restaurants
New Mobile App Puts A Fresh Spin On Local Dining
Local Startup Spotluck Serves Smart Discounts to Customers and Yield Management to Top Local Restaurants
(Bethesda, MD)--DC’s restaurant scene just got the dining app it’s hungry for. It’s called Spotluck, and it’s a win-win for consumers and restaurants. Think of it as Expedia or Uber for local dining--marketing and filling seats with new diners, all through yield management. (Or in simple terms, fluctuating prices.) It’s based on a brilliant premise: Spotluck believes grabbing a bite on a cold rainy Monday should cost less than on a beautiful Saturday night. Putting the smart in smartphone, the Spotluck app has harnessed powerful technology to offer dining discounts factored on time, day, weather, and other considerations. Plus, it’s fun and exciting: users "spin" to decide where to eat.
Here’s how it works. Spotluckers enjoy “smart” discounts at participating Spots (restaurants). To inspire folks to go out more often, the discounts go up during slow times (like those rainy Mondays we mentioned). These everyday discounts are great, but Spotluck steps it up in a major way - Spotluckers get one spin a day for a larger discount at one random Spot. The app also provides quick and useful information about every Spot, such as menus, real-time events/specials and exclusive pictures (videos coming soon!). This helps Spotluckers discover hidden gems--and solves the age-old “where-do-we-eat” dilemma among family and friends. (We’ve all battled that, right?)
While a refreshing delight for diners, Spotluck is really merchant-centric. It puts restaurants first, unlike other discounting platforms that offer “flash deals” that decimate profit margins. In techie app jargon, Spotluck provides local restaurants with hyper-local mobile marketing exposure (so neighborhood Spots can reach hungry diners), yield management (variable pricing that controls supply and demand while optimizing profits, just like airline tickets on Expedia) and big data solutions (interesting information about what goes on in the restaurant). Spotluck also provides authentic GPS-verified reviews and analytics directly (and privately) to restaurant owners via its merchant app. Restaurants can join with no upfront fees and they pay only if Spotluck performs.
In short, it’s a win-win for Spotluckers and the Spots they frequent.
Here’s what you need to know about Spotluck:
It’s already in over twenty “Hubs” (neighborhoods) in and around DC. (Including Dupont Circle, Chinatown, Arlington, Alexandria, Georgetown, Bethesda, Adams Morgan, Friendship Heights, Rockville, Frederick and more.)
About 275 restaurants participate, including Clyde’s, Mussel Bar, Martin’s Tavern, Perry’s, Black’s, Fuego, Don Tito and more.
Spotluck focuses on introducing its users to local restaurants, not big chains.
Spotluck is an on-demand dining solution, just like Uber is an on-demand transportation solution. No reservations!
Discounts typically range from 10% to 30%, depending on the time, day, weather and more. The savings typically cover your entire bill.
Spotluckers get one spin a day, and it goes viral when friends and family download the app to take their own spins.
The app is free, and available for Apple and Android devices.
Spotluck, a Bethesda, MD company, was founded by two successful professionals who took the startup plunge in mid-2014. Cherian Thomas was an executive in the recyclable commodities industry, while Bradford Sayler was a corporate securities attorney with a major DC law firm. Together, they launched Spotluck’s app in June 2014. Since then, they’ve taken the greater DC restaurant scene by storm. Thomas, a Georgetown University alumnus, sees a genuine need for Spotluck in the Nation’s Capital. “DC has a strong tech community and is quickly becoming an international foodie destination. Spotluck’s clean and fun interface, combined with its focus on the best local food Spots, will bring a lot of value to the hungry folks of this city.” Spotluckers agree. Since launching last year, Spotluck has experienced strong traction with its user base. “Restaurants can offer specials and change prices every day, but it doesn’t matter if nobody knows about it. Our attentive and growing coalition of Spotluckers is crucial to building a powerful local dining network,” says Sayler.
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We are a community of local restaurants and local foodies that connect through a free mobile app.
Foodies crave real-time information about unique, local food. Merchants crave a controllable stage where they can tout their restaurant personality and goodies. Historical platforms are not cutting it.
- Websites are a pain for users to navigate quickly (especially on a phone), and expensive and burdensome for owners to maintain (especially for limited-time offerings, like weekend specials).
- Yelp is the wild west of reviews/ratings – foodies don’t have time for long-winded reviews and now take ratings with a serious grain of salt, while owners scathe the lack of control in content about THEIR brand (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2dkJctUDIs).
- Opentable fails to introduce users to new spots and bores them with a directory-style interface, while doing nothing to help owners fill empty seats during slow times and charging them steep fees for filling tables on already-busy weekend nights.
SPOTLUCK FILLS THE GAP by giving its hungry users, or “Spotluckers,” real-time information on the best local Spots in each neighborhood, neatly organized into a fun, simple interface. Spotluckers can quickly see menus, pictures, stories and other interesting information about each Spot – all provided directly by the restaurant owners. Even better, the app has two unique hooks:
- Dynamic Preferred Pricing. Spotluckers enjoy lower prices via discounts that fluctuate based on day, time, weather, and other factors that affect restaurant occupancy. In short, grabbing a bite on a rainy Monday afternoon will save serious loot. Plus, Spotluckers are rewarded for marketing the Spots they frequent with bonus savings for social media shout-outs.
- The Spin. Spotluckers get one spin per day for a random bonus discount in each Hub. This fun twist helps them discover hidden gems and quickly solves the age-old “where to eat?” dilemma.
Spotluck pioneers a new era of discounting. Long gone are the days of quality restaurants offering 50% pre-paid flash deals that can be used on any night of the week. And say goodbye to yanking fat coupons off the web 15 minutes before paying your bill. Unlike other discounting platforms that decimate restaurants’ bottom lines, Spotluck is a merchant-centric platform that uses smart discounts to drive traffic when restaurants need it most. Airlines fill planes by charging variable prices for each seat and Spotluck applies the same logic to restaurant seats. Plus, the "spin" makes larger discounts exclusive and unavailable for just anyone. The greatest rewards go to flexible foodies in search of authentic, local food – the exact customers restaurants love to host.
While many startups have tackled the reservations market, Spotluck focuses on driving walk-in traffic. In addition, Spotluck provides valuable authentic GPS-verified reviews and analytics directly to restaurant owners via its merchant app. Restaurants can join with no upfront fees and pay only when Spotluck delivers guests.
Spotluck, a Bethesda, MD company, was founded by two successful professionals who took the startup plunge in mid-2014. Cherian Thomas was an executive in the recyclable commodities industry, while Brad Sayler was a corporate securities attorney with a major DC law firm. Together, they launched Spotluck’s app in June 2014. Thomas, a Georgetown University alumnus, sees a genuine need for Spotluck in the Nation’s Capital. “DC has a strong tech community and is quickly becoming an international foodie destination. Spotluck’s clean and fun interface, combined with its focus on the best local food Spots, will bring a lot of value to the hungry folks of this city.” Spotluckers agree. Since launching last year, Spotluck has experienced strong traction with its user base. “Restaurants can offer specials and change prices every day, but it doesn’t matter if nobody is watching. Our attentive and growing coalition of Spotluckers is crucial to building a powerful local dining network,” says Sayler.
Co-Founder & CEO Cherian Thomas:
Cherian Thomas is the magnet between the brilliant minds and wicked fun culture at Spotluck. When he’s not maintaining his undefeated foosball record, Cherian is actively raising awareness of Spotluck’s brand and leading our corporate social responsibilities. He's a people first leader who inspires the team to be the CEO of their own positions. Prior to founding Spotluck, Cherian hedged commodities within the U.S manufacturing and recycling sector. Cherian holds a B.S. (Marketing), M.B.A. (Marketing) and recently completed his second Masters (Executive Leadership) from Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business. In 2013, Cherian co-founded the Georgetown WASTENOT Initiative in Cape Town, South Africa; a legacy project that links poverty prone areas to local manufacturers through recycling buy-back centers. Cherian and his wife Katie live in Bethesda Maryland with their (insanely smart) dog Osito. Osito is currently filing paperwork to change his name to "Spotty" to further enhance Spotluck's brand awareness.
Co-Founder & CFO Bradford Sayler:
Brad Sayler worked the corporate grind prior to co-founding Spotluck. He spent two years with an international accounting firm prior to attending George Mason School of Law, then spent five years in the corporate securities group of a major DC law firm. In his professional roles, he advised a wide array of clients (small businesses to public Fortune 500 companies; manufacturing plants to tech venture funds) on a breadth of topics, from bookkeeping to registration statements to divesting portfolio companies. As both an attorney and an accountant, Brad brings unparalleled insights to business matters, but not at cocktail parties, where few people want to talk with him. His experience forms the backbone to cover all things operational at Spotluck, including product development, marketing, finance, accounting and legal. Brad lives with his incredibly supportive wife, Amy, energetic daughters, Annalise and Violet, and mailman-despising dog, Elvis, in North Potomac, MD.