A local startup, Grubbable, is launching beta testing next week on a new dining and discount app exclusive to Detroit. Grubbable members will have access to discounts at more than 60 local restaurants.
"When trying to eat at restaurants that serve locally sourced food, restaurant goers are usually hindered by two major issues," says co-founder Michael Feng. "The first is that it's really difficult to find which restaurants are actually serving local ingredients. The second is that restaurants serving these high-quality foods are usually more expensive than their non-local counterparts down the street."
App members will pay a $4 monthly fee that guarantees them receive at least 10 percent-off their main dish at participating eateries. Restaurants in turn will be able to market special offers through the app, while providing details about their menus and products. The app also provides free exposure for local farms and artisans who supply the restaurants.
Servers are queued to provide the discount when the diner brings up the app on his or her smartphone and checks in. The server then inputs the restaurant's pin. Data collected through the app is provided to restaurants within the network allowing them to market discounts directly to frequent customers. For instance, if a particular customer regularly purchases wine at a restaurant, that restaurant can send the user a discount on wine. "It gives restaurants an opportunity to reach out and interface with their customers," Feng adds.
In addition to supporting Detroit restaurants, app users support local non-profits. Grubbable is partnering with RecoveryPark, Greening of Detroit, Keep Growing Detroit, Motor City Blight Busters, and more. The first membership fee from each user will be donated to a local non-profit of the user's choice.
Grubbable is accepting beta testers on their website right now. The beta version will feature a small portion of the 60 restaurants and testers will be asked to visit each location within the first month of testing. Each week, participants will provide feedback to the company. At the end of the testing period, Grubbable will offer testers 6-month Grubbable membership for free. Feng estimates that the beta app will launch next week with the final product becoming available in May.
The company plans to focus on Detroit for the time being, Feng says. "We want to make sure that we're really successful in Detroit." However, in things go well the company may eventually develop apps for Ann Arbor and beyond.
Correction: Grubbable offers 10 percent-off main dishes at participating eateries, not 10 percent-off the bill as previously stated.