Discount dining app Spotluck launches in Connecticut
Updated 5:22 pm, Friday, February 2, 2018
Can’t decide on a restaurant? Spotluck can help, and offer a discount, too.
Spotluck, a mobile app that encourages people to patronize locally owned restaurants, launched Thursday in Connecticut with 14 Danbury restaurants on board. The app is free to download and use.
The participating restaurants are displayed on a “wheel” on the user’s phone. Spinning the wheel will reveal a randomly selected restaurant at which a discount is offered. Users may spin one time each day.
If the user does not want to visit the restaurant that came up, a 10 percent discount is available at each of the other establishments on the wheel. The discount applies to regularly priced food and drink. A food purchase is required to receive the discount.
“We are growing in the major metro areas, but also love to tie in the small cities and towns where there is a real sense of community,” Dillon Tedesco, chief revenue officer of Spotluck, said. “Danbury is a perfect example of that and has a lot of good restaurants. People will discover new places on the wheel.”
The amount of the discount — typically 20 to 35 percent — is based on weather, day of the week and time of day. Discounts are steeper during traditionally less busy times for restaurants.
“On a rainy Monday it takes me a little more to get out of the home,” Tedesco said. “On a Friday night, I’m going out anyway, but I may just need help deciding where to go.”
Users show their server at the restaurant the phone to display the discount. There are no coupons to print out. Spotluck is also integrated with Google maps and Uber for getting directions or a ride.
Only locally owned restaurants may take part. For now, participating Danbury restaurants include The Cue, Widow Brown’s, Square One, Pour Me, Atlantic Restaurant, Le’s Kitchen, Ruchi, Three Brothers Diner, Mazzo, Michael Angelo’s, Pippa’s, Barbarie’s Black Angus, New Holiday and Lorenzo’s.
“We want to highlight the great local spots,” Tedesco said. “The big (chain) restaurants have the marketing and high-visibility locations and billboards. Local restaurants are part of the real fabric of the community.”
Nick Jimenez, a New Milford native and community manager with Spotluck, expects more to join the network once the platform is up and running.
Spotluck kicked off its entry in Connecticut with a party Thursday evening at The Cue. It will hold another launch party from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday at Widow Brown’s.
“This is the way of the future. This (phone apps) is what people are looking at now,” said Joe Yorio, who opened The Cue barbecue restaurant in 2016. “Especially this time of year, if you can do any kind of business on a weekday during the winter, that’s great.”
Tedesco said Spotluck plans to grow in Connecticut throughout 2018 with Brookfield and New Milford its next markets. Spotluck has its sights set on lower Fairfield County for an expansion.
“We’ll get them on the list,” Jimenez said.
Spotluck launched in the summer of 2014 in Rockville, Md., with eight restaurants on board. It now has more than 1,500 restaurants and nearly half a million users. It is based in the Washington, D.C., area. Payment by the restaurant owner is based on performance of the app.
Jimenez, 23, started as an intern with Spotluck and is now a full-time employee. He spearheaded the Danbury launch.
“Some of the best restaurants in the area have embraced this,” Jimenez said. “I love the local aspect and it brings in foot traffic when restaurants need it.”
Tedesco added: “Getting people through the door is better than not getting people through the door.”
The writer may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 203-731-3338