NORWOOD, Ohio -- Ever have trouble deciding where you want to eat?
Norwood resident Anthony Breen conceived of FEASTY to help you solve that dilemma.
FEASTY is an app that enables restaurateurs to offer discounts to customers in real time, for any length of time, for a specific number of people and at any time of the day. Users who want a bargain can use the app to find out what discounts local restaurants are offering.
How does it work?
Offers normally show up on the mobile phone screen or computer screen with the restaurant’s name, and a photo of the food being discounted. The time remaining on the offer is also shown, as well as how many people have accepted the offer and how many offers remain to be claimed.
To accept, users click the red “I want it” button at the bottom of the screen. Then an “activate” screen appears, where the user confirms the deal and is given a code to show the restaurant cashier.
Restaurateurs can create their own deals using FEASTY’s portal, or have FEASTY’s staff do it. It’s designed for ease of use, Breen said, and a restaurateur can schedule an entire month’s worth of deals in less than 10 minutes.
What’s the origin story?
FEASTY came about basically because Breen and his fiancée, Gabriella Brown, were spending too much time trying to decide where to eat. He began thinking how great would it be if his favorite restaurants could give him some incentives in real time. He asked restaurateurs what they could do to drive people to their restaurants right now, he said, and they commonly replied, “We just hope they come every day.”
Breen first sketched out the idea last summer, then created a prototype using Mobisoft Infotech, a Houston-based product development company, in September. FEASTY’s website, www.feastyapp.com , launched March 7.
Who are the investors?
The company has raised about $800,000, which Breen said came from himself and from a co-founder and two other locals. He declined to say how much he had personally contributed, or to name the other investors.
Originally from Boston, Breen, 23, graduated from Xavier University in 2014 with a degree in finance and entrepreneurship. While a student, he helped create an app called My Healthy Tale, which educates children on how to manage chronic illnesses, such as diabetes.
Have many restaurants signed up?
Close to 70, Breen said, including Dewey’s Pizza, Keystone B&G, Gomez Tacos, Tom + Chee, Rhinehaus and Taste of Belgium. And more than 35 percent of the deals being offered on FEASTY are redeemed, Breen said.
What about users?
More than 5,000 people have downloaded the free app, Breen said, and more than 70 percent of them use it at least once a week. More than 1,000 of them are over 40, he said, which was something of a surprise. And some needed to be told how to download an app.
What about revenue?
It will eventually come from the restaurateurs, who will pay FEASTY a flat $1 fee per offer redeemed by a customer. However, to promote usage, and because it couldn’t guarantee how much traffic it would drive, FEASTY is allowing restaurateurs to use the app for free for six months.
Are there employees?
Yes, four of them, who work out of FEASTY’s office at 1125 Walnut St. in Over-the-Rhine. The company also has a team of about two dozen unpaid “campus ambassadors” at Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati, who spread the word about FEASTY among their fellow students. Four of them have been hired to work as summer interns at FEASTY.
“We’re focused right now on making sure the user experience is locked down,” Breen said. He plans to continue to sign up local restaurateurs, and as early as the end of this year, to expand to neighboring cities. To scale up, the company will eventually need more investors, he said, but it has enough money now to last through mid-2017.
“I want FEASTY to become the app that connects those who love to eat food with those who love to create it,” Breen said. “I love solving that problem.”