It’s a situation all too familiar. It’s you and your roommates, all gathered around the couch or messaging via Merge. You are too lazy to cook, and the dining hall is just too far of a walk. You want to eat out, but the same old concerns arise once again. “It’s so expensive!” one friend chimes in. Then the most dreaded debate of all time “Where should we eat?”
Luckily for us Michigan students , (as well as students at University of Texas-Austin and University of Wisconsin-Madison), two college students decided to end this argument once and for all. Meet Tim Rothwell and Brett Berman, the inventors of the mobile app “Hooked”.
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According to Chief Marketing Officer Kristian Zak, “As soon as you get hungry, you open up this app and it not only helps you decide where to eat, but it saves you a few bucks every time as well. The purpose of Hooked is to provide customers, primarily students, with hundreds of 3-5 hour long deals that are displayed by upon the location of the user.”
Here’s how it works. First, download Hooked from the app store (it’s fo’ free). Then set up a login and allow Hooked to access to your location services. This helps you find the “Hooks” (that’s what they call the deals) you’re actually close to. When you start getting hungry, open the app, and a long list of deals will display on the screen.
The live feed will list nearby restaurants in order of your current proximity, the exclusive Hook, the length of the distance from your current location, and how much time you have left to redeem the deal. If one of the deals piques your interest, as your friends rejoice that you’ve finally decided where to eat, all you need to do is head on over. Once you’ve arrived, click on the deal and “get Hooked”. The app will recognize, based on your phone’s “location services”, that you are at the specific business. Just show the business the screen, and the deal is all yours.
The uniqueness of Hooked, compared to other services that offer food “deals”, is that Hooked is that the offers are real-time, constantly changing day-to-day, all day long. Students do not see the same deal every day, let alone every hour. There are over a hundred new deals each day. Zak explains, “If you check the app in the morning, you will see coffee specials and breakfast specials. If you check it at lunch you will see lunch specials and so on.”
The co-founders have formed relationships with over 60 Ann Arbor businesses so far, such as newcomer Slurping Turtle, Isalita, Espresso Royale, Noodles & Co, Good Time Charleys and NYPD, to name a few. They work with the local businesses to create deals that are exclusive to Hooked users, that will also benefit the business. “We determine what days of the week, and what times of the day, the business needs a boost in traffic, and after an evaluation of their menus, we are off to work. I guess you can say we are the mobile marketing arm of all of the restaurants and bars that we work with.” It “hooks” customers in with short-term, exclusive offers, while saving students money. Seems like a win-win.
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Thanks to our Instagram feeds, we’ve become a generation that “eats with their eyes.” Now, we can thank Hooked instead. By providing us with a different type of live feed, “Hooked”, with images, and elite deals that will help us save money, deciding where to go eat has never been easier.
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