WASHINGTON — “Where should we eat?”
It might be a simple question to answer in some towns, but in D.C., where foodies have dozens of delicious choices no matter what neighborhood they’re in, it can be difficult to decide.
That’s one reason why Cherian Thomas helped develop a new app, Spotluck, which lets users “spin” to discover local restaurants and save money on dining out.
In less than a year since it launched, it’s trending higher than Open Table and Urban Spoon.
The concept behind Spotluck was Thomas’s thesis project at Georgetown University, and the business is based in Bethesda.
“The prices in a restaurant on a Tuesday at 2 p.m. when it’s raining should not be the same as prices in a restaurant on a Saturday night when it’s beautiful out,” he says. “The restaurants all agree, they’re all busier on a Friday than they are on a Monday. They’re all way busier when it’s beautiful than when it’s snowmaggedon.”
The software randomly chooses a partnered restaurant for users, and offers a percentage off the bill at that eatery.
It’s broken down by neighborhood, including Georgetown and Adams Morgan in D.C., Bethesda and Frederick in Maryland and Ballston and Clarendon in Virginia.
Discounts go up when there’s bad weather, and during non-peak hours so restaurants can fill their seats when business is likely to be slower. Everyone wins.
For now, the app can only be used in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, but Thomas is hoping to expand nationwide, and eventually worldwide.
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