Spotluck went from a simple idea in the basement of a house to the No. 1 discount dining app in the iTunes Store – and it has now reached the Richmond community.

The conception of Spotluck was based on the belief that restaurant prices at 2 p.m. on a rainy Monday should not be the same as prices at 8 p.m. on an ideal Friday.

“Spotluck started as a Capstone thesis but didn’t become a business until my co-founder Brad Sayler got involved,” Spotluck CEO Cherian Thomas said. “We were in corporate, but this is something we decided to quit our jobs for — use our money and make an app.”

Thomas said there were two issues he and Sayler wanted to address: fixed menu prices and unsuitable wait times.

“We looked at supply and demand,” Thomas said. “Restaurants have fixed costs, but we wanted to bring something known as ‘smart discounts.’ Our software constantly fluctuates based on the day, time and weather.”

The app was launched in June 2014 and since then has become especially popular on the east coast.

Through the app, Spotluck users get to spin a wheel once a day and receive a discount ranging from 10 to 35 percent off for a random restaurant. The savings are widespread, as the app is used in collaboration with over 1,250 local restaurants across Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York and Washington, D.C. 

“We basically want our app to be the one-stop shop. One spin per day and you always get a discount,” Thomas said.

Spotluck eliminates the recurring problem of indecisiveness over where to eat. Instead, you get the element of surprise and pricing incentives.

“Consumers like it because it's fun. Everyone argues about where they want to eat, and that’s where this comes from,” Thomas said. “We’re making dining fun, so you can make a decision in 15 seconds versus 15 minutes of arguing.”

“As a student, I would appreciate this app,” Maddie Delbeau, WC ‘20, said. “We have a lot of expenses in college, so it would be helpful to have those savings for a variety of restaurants. I’d like to be able to help the local restaurants and also benefit from it in terms of going off campus and expanding my dining options.”

In addition to savings and on-the-spot reviews, Spotluck gives users direct access to restaurants’ Instagram photos, as well as the Uber app so you can immediately call for a ride to the restaurant.

Currently, in Richmond, Spotluck is available for use at restaurants in the Fan and Carytown such as The Savory Grain, Greek on Cary, The Pig & Pearl and over 20 other local spots. The app will be introduced in Short Pump Thursday.

Contact lifestyle writer Sydney Collins @sydney.collins@richmond.edu.

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