Unlike apps for setting reservations, receiving daily deals, pre-ordering meals and so on, SimpleDeal acts like a kind of digital wingman, enabling passersby to point their mobile phones at a restaurant to see the menu, find out more about its offerings, review any special deals and make a dining decision.
The restaurant can then follow up with new deals if the consumer opts in, but the app capitalizes on what I believe is mobile's greatest promise.
That is to say it is not push-based, it is pull-based - consumer activated, at the consumer's discretion, at the moment when a consumer is most interested in what you have to offer. And it is enabled through an online portal where restaurants can modify their messaging, or change out specials or deals, in real time.
Most important of all, it gives the client restaurant more than just a transactional ROI, it gives them added voice and value, by enabling them to share what they believe makes their offerings unique.
Time will tell if SimpleDeal, which is live in Long Beach California today, and about to expand into Orange County, will truly take off. But in a Q&A with McKinney, the model as he describes it is definitely worthy of the effort.
Among other things, McKinney points out that a "deal" doesn't need to mean "discount," which is an important factor for a famously margin-tight industry. And it may be the data the app generates that's may be of interest most of all.
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