'Spotluck' app offers restaurant discounts based on weather, weekdays

Cherian is on the left (when looking at the photo -he has hair!). Brad Sayler - is next to him. He's the co-founder of Spotluck. 
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A mobile phone application meant to offer customers discounts at local restaurants started with a simple premise:

"Prices in a restaurant on Tuesday when it's raining shouldn't be the same as prices in a restaurant on a Friday night," said co-founder Cherian Thomas. "But nobody's done that in a restaurant space."


Introducing Spotluck.

Users spin a virtual wheel in the app to find a discount at a restaurant in their area. In turn, if the potential customer does claim the discount, the restaurant then pays a small fee to Spotluck.


The application will also push notifications of discounts at restaurants during inclement weather, meant to entice people to visit eateries during typical down times for the industry.

Two years ago, Spotluck was primarily based in Bethesda and Rockville. Now, it has expanded, with approximately 350 restaurants in Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia, according to Thomas. There are also around 12 restaurants in the Annapolis area participating and another 100 restaurants abroad.

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"We wanted to solve a recuring problem — trying to figure out where to eat in 20 seconds," Thomas said.

"But you go to a restaurant on a Tuesday and there's no one in it," he added. "In every other industry, (there's) this kind of fluctuation of price and demand."

And the concept has gotten recognition for its simple, effective concept.

This year, the technology community in D.C. voted Spotluck as the city's "Hottest Tech Company" as part of the DCInno "Tech Madness" competition, which puts companies up against one another in an NCAA Tournament-style bracket and asks readers what company they believe will be the most valuable in five years.

Thomas said the application is looking to expand into Philadelphia.

As for the company, Thomas said it has struck a balance.


"You can have the best technology in the world and the best patents. You have to fill both sides of the marketplace," Thomas said. "We're able to balance the platform pretty well with over 450 restaurants and close to 100,000 people in the area spinning the app."